Colwyn Trevarthen

Colwyn Trevarthen is Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Edinburgh. He trained as a biologist, has a Ph.D. in psychobiology from Caltech and was a Research Fellow at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard, where his infancy research began. His published work covers brain development, infant communication and child learning, the nature of motives for efficient and meaningful action and awareness, and the function of emotions. He is interested in the innate creative and cooperative motives of children that lead them to make friends in society and to want to learn what other people know. This has led to interest in the effects of neglect and of disorders, such as autism and depressive illness, and to research on how to help parents, teachers and clinicians give the best care and companionship to young children. Collaboration with musician Stephen Malloch led to the development of a theory of the parameters of ‘Communicative Musicality’ that govern human movement in relationships, and to exploration of their importance for shared knowledge and mental health.
Prof. Trevarthen has an honorary Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Crete, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters and a Vice-President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education.