Read D. Tuddenham
Professor of Psychology, Emeritus
Read D. Tuddenham, Professor of Psychology Emeritus, passed away in 2009 at the age of 93. Tuddenham was hired as a faculty member in 1946 and retired in 1983. He received an A.B. in Psychology from the University of Utah in 1935 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from UCB in 1941.
From 1944 to 1945 as Personnel Director, Personnel Research Section, Adjutant General’s Office, War Department, Tuddenham initiated some of the earliest research on the effects of combat stress on disabled World War II veterans. The findings from a 15-year follow-up study laid the foundation for much of our current understanding and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Professor Tuddenham was best known for his career-long interest in the nature and nurturing of human intelligence and its measurement, with a particular focus on the theory of cognitive growth developed by Jean Piaget. Piaget’s method of assessment employed clinically-oriented, individual interviews with children designed to establish behavioral markers reflecting various stages of mental growth and the transitions from one stage to another. He was among the first to appreciate the rich developmental themes being tapped by Piaget’s theories and, especially, their educational implications for student readiness to learn-themes not typically assessed by traditional IQ tests. Tuddenham argued for the standardization (or ‘psychometricization’) of Piaget’s clinical approach to assessment through the establishment of developmental norms based on sampling large numbers of children, and creating objective scoring rationale. Over a period of years, Tuddenham and his graduate students successfully pioneered the development of prototype examples of this ‘psychometricizing’ process.
Tuddenham also was well known for his long-standing research program designed to study conformity and yielding behavior as a consequence of group pressure in both children and adults. One of his most significant contributions in this area concerned the willingness of many subjects to conform even if they believed the norms on which they were making their decision to conform were avowedly distorted, a finding that underscores the powerful, pervasive influence of group pressure.
Professor Read Tuddenham was an esteemed colleague of great intellectual breath and productivity, an inspired teacher both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a steadfast friend to both staff and faculty colleagues alike, giving generously of his time, energy, and wise counsel. He is survived by a daughter, Helen, and a son, William.