Roger Brown (psychologist)

Roger Brown (psychologist)

Roger Brown (April 14, 1925-December 11, 1997) was an American social psychologist. He was born in Detroit.

He attended the University of Michigan. During World War II, his education was interrupted by service as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and he served in the Pacific Theater during the Battle of Okinawa. He returned to Michigan and received his bachelor degree (1948) before going on for his Ph.D. in psychology (1952). At the University of Michigan, he became interested in the science of linguistics.

Following his graduation from Michigan, he became an instructor and then assistant professor at Harvard. In 1957 he left Harvard for a position at M.I.T. where he wrote his monumental Words and Things. He became a full professor of psychology at M.I.T. in 1960.

In 1962, Brown accepted a professorship at Harvard, where he became the John Lindsley Professor in Memory of William James, a position he held until his retirement in 1995.

He completed his textbook, Social Psychology, in 1965. The book was widely adopted in many universities as a core textbook. The success of the initial version of Social Psychology encouraged him to write a completely new textbook on social psychology which he entitled simply .

He then undertook a landmark study of the linguistic development of children, published in A First Language.

He followed this work with an introductory textbook on psychology, written with his colleague Richard Herrnstein.

At this time he concentrated upon studying specific familiar experiences such as that of "flashbulb memories" (for example, What were you doing the moment you heard of JFK's assassination?), and the "tip of the tongue phenomenon."

As described in his memoir "Against My Better Judgment", Roger Brown met his future partner of some 42 years, Albert Gilman, while both were studying at Michigan. Gilman later became a professor of English at Boston University. While his sexual orientation and his relationship with Albert Gilman were known to many of his close friends and colleagues, and he served on the editorial board of The Journal of Homosexuality from 1985, he did not come out publicly until 1989. [Murray, Stephen O. 1999. "Roger Brown (1925-1997): A Memorial." Journal of Homosexuality, 37(1): 1-2. ] . After Albert died of cancer in 1989, Brown spent several years consoling himself with by pursuing relationships with several younger men, chronicled in his memoir.



*Brown, R (1965)Social Psychology.Collier Mac. ISBN 0-02-978430-1
*Bellugi, U. & Brown, R (1972) Acquisition of Language.Univ.Chicago P. ISBN 0-226-76757-4
*Brown, R & Herrnstein R J (1977) Psychology. Little, Brown.ISBN 0-316-11204-6
*Brown, R A (Jun 1973) A First Language. Harvard Univ Press.ISBN 0-674-30326-1
*Brown, R (2003).Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-5340-X

Book Chapters

Biographical References

*Brown, R. 1996. Against my better judgment: an intimate memoir of an eminent gay psychologist. New York: Harrington Park Press.
*Hopkins, J. R. 2000. "Brown, Roger William." Encyclopedia of Psychology, Vol. 1 (pp. 479-480). Alan E. Kazdin, Ed. Oxford University Press.
*Murray, Stephen O. 1999. "Roger Brown (1925-1997): A Memorial." Journal of Homosexuality, 37(1): 1-2.


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