Lynne Koester

Undergraduate Discipline


BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MA, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Special interests include: parent-infant interactions, particularly when one or both partners is deaf; cultural variations in parenting; cross-cultural comparisons of infant and child development; and the concept of “intuitive parenting.” Recipient of grants and fellowships from March of Dimes Foundation, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry (Munich, Germany). Previously employed as research scientist at the Gallaudet Research Institute and as professor at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and at University of Montana-Missoula. Co-founder of Peace Corps Masters International program at University of Montana, focused on Intercultural Youth and Family Development. Publications cover topics such as the impact of deafness on early child development (e.g., attachment, communication, the importance of visual and tactile contact), microanalytic coding of parent-infant behaviors during face-to-face interactions, and a sociopolitical biography of Dr. Hanuš Papoušek (pioneer of infancy research in Czechoslovakia and Germany). SLC, 2022-

Undergraduate Courses 2022-2023


Classic Studies and Current Issues in Developmental Psychology

Open, Seminar—Fall

In this seminar, we will explore the many fascinating questions about how humans develop from infancy to adulthood, including historical, cultural, and theoretical backgrounds. The goal will be for you to achieve a broad-based understanding of some of the most critical factors influencing an individual's life course as it evolves over time, as well as the interplay between inherited or biological factors and environmental or cultural influences. In addition, we will cover the historical antecedents of contemporary developmental research, the evolution of this subfield of psychology, and various perspectives that help to explain the developmental changes in humans over the lifespan. Therefore, one of the key sources for background reading will be the book by Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (2021), Developmental Psychology: Revisiting the Classic Studies. Although we will be considering topics from the entire lifespan, it is impossible in one semester to adequately cover all developmental stages. My own particular area of specialization and research is infancy and early childhood; but the course readings will also focus on later development and implications for parenting, teaching, and applied work. You will be asked to synthesize this knowledge in a paper focused on a specific developmental topic of your choice. This should include an “implications” section that focuses on either: 1) applications of the area to real problems (or policy concerns) facing infants, children, adolescents or adults; or 2) suggestions for future research still needed in your chosen area.


Intercultural Aspects of Human Development

Intermediate, Seminar—Spring

Prerequisite: prior course in psychology or related social sciences

In this seminar, we will be considering beliefs and practices related to infant and child development across a variety of cultures and contexts, as well as programs intended to support optimal development in these cultures. Some preconceived ideas about what is "appropriate" or normally expected of children (and parents) will hopefully be challenged as a result of the readings, video documentaries, reflections, and discussions during the semester. We will cover topics such as: international rights of the child, raising babies across cultures, international adoptions, global perspectives and policies, children with disabilities, early intervention, and educational practices. For your primary written assignment, you are to become the "resident expert" on a given type of project or program designed to enhance the well-being of infants, children, or youth in a specific country or region of interest to you; this may be a country or area in which you might want to work some day (although this is not a requirement) or simply one that intrigues you. Your paper should be based on an actual program that you discover, such as through international nonprofits or efforts being carried out at the grassroots level in your country of choice (e.g., UNICEF, Save the Children, orphanages or adoption agencies, programs for children with special needs, maternal and child health programs, HIV/AIDS clinics). In addition to describing the program itself and its guiding principles, you will be asked to critique its cultural appropriateness and potential effectiveness and to offer constructive suggestions as to how it might be improved upon or expanded. The goal is to view these efforts through the lens of your knowledge about children, youth, and human development as gained from your readings and explorations of these topics in class.