Meet the new Editor in Chief of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development

SAGE is the proud publisher of IJBD – International Journal of Behavioral Development, ISSBD’s flagship journal.  Earlier this year we launched the new interactive ISSBD website which will enable greater access to the research that this international organization and journal cover in its mission to promote scientific research of human development throughout the lifespan.

Recently we were delighted to meet with the journal’s new Editor-in-Chief, Brett Laursen, Professor and Graduate Studies Coordinator of the Department of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University, to find out more about this exciting partnership and his visions for the journal in his new role.Brett Laursen

Professor Laursen congratulations on your appointment as Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Behavioral Development. Please do tell us a bit about your background (academic and otherwise)?

I was born, raised, and educated in the Midwestern United States.  I received a B.A degree in Psychology from Nebraska Wesleyan University, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Child Psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, and an honorary doctorate from Örebro University in Sweden.  After a brief stint in Maine, I moved to Florida Atlantic University, where I am Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Training.  I spend a fair amount of time in Northern Europe, particularly the Baltic region, collaborating with colleagues in Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Lithuania.  I hold courtesy appointments at universities in Jyväskylä and Vilnius.

What aspects of the IJBD editorship most interest/excite you?

Marcel van Aken handed off a thriving journal with an expanding footprint.  Together with an extraordinarily talented group of Associate Editors we are working to build on the journal’s traditional strength in basic empirical research with a new emphasis on applied developmental topics.  We want IJBD to be one of the first journals that authors consider when making a decision about where to submit their research.  Authors know that IJBD will provide thoughtful consideration of their work with a timely turnaround.

For readers new to the journal, what would you say are the key areas that IJBD seeks to cover and explore?

Two terms ought to be synonymous with IJBDInternational and Developmental.   Many developmental journals aspire to be international, but none match the scope of our readers, authors, or reviewers.  We are a life-span developmental journal.  No other developmental journal publishes papers that represent (and sometimes cross) every period of life.

What would you say are the biggest issues/topics currently being debated in behavioral development?

The interplay between the individual and the environment is a focus of considerable attention.  This is a broad topic, ranging from mechanisms whereby environments shape biological and genetic expression and vice versa to mechanisms whereby the individual shapes and is shaped by social forces and actors that represent these forces.  The magnitude and direction of influence pathways varies as a function of age and maturation, underscoring the importance of a developmental perspective.  In many cases, patterns of influence will vary across contexts, leaving us to puzzle over the degree to which developmental mechanisms and manifestations are universal.

How do you see the field of behavioral development developing in the near future?

Rapid advances are evident in two areas:  Developmental neuroscience and developmental methodology.  Scholars who are not well versed in brain functioning or quantitative methodology (or preferably both!) are going to miss the bus.  This is not to say that others areas are not also moving forward.  Instead, my point is that other areas must necessarily adapt to the rapid changes underway in these two central areas, because each will touch upon and ultimately alter all other areas of study.

As Editor, in what ways would you like to see IJBD develop over the next few years?

We are committed to prompt handling of an ever increasing volume of manuscripts.  The Methods and Measures section of the journal should flourish under the leadership of its new Editor, Todd Little.  I hope that IJBD develops a reputation for provocative special issues and special sections – we are actively seeking suggestions for topics and guest editors with the potential to shape the direction of the field.


For more information about journal and the new website, please visit:

This entry was posted in SAGE Connection. Bookmark the permalink.