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Kenneth Kaye

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Kenneth Kaye

Kenneth Kaye
Kenneth Kaye (born January 24, 1946) is an American psychologist, writer, and business consultant whose research, books, and articles connect the fields of human development, family relationships and conflict resolution.


Although spanning several professional disciplines, the substantial body of Kaye’s work is characterized by family systems theory and by a search for observable, reproducible processes rather than stopping at generalizations about formal properties, for example, of stages in mental or social development.

Kaye was educated at Harvard University (A.B. in English and American Literature, 1966; Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and Education, 1970). Following a Visiting Fellowship at Kings College, Cambridge (UK), he taught at the University of Washington (1970–71) and the University of Chicago (Department of Education and Committee on Human Development, 1971–81). From 1982 to 2007 he was an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical School.

In later years, Kaye published six books of fiction under the name Ken Kaye.[1]

Research and principal publications

Early human development

Beginning with his doctoral dissertation and continuing through the University of Chicago years, 22 of Kaye's published articles[2] addressed the fundamental question, What gives homo sapiens, uniquely among all other creatures, the ability to learn through imitation, language, and consciousness of a reflecting self? His principal mentors were the social-cognitive psychologist Piaget),[4] are shaped gradually by interactions due to the co-evolution of infant behavior and human adult behavior. Specifically, he traced the development of turn-taking beginning with instinctive maternal responses to physiological/neurological bursts and pauses in neonatal activity,[5] through transactions in which adults adjust to babies' perceived (projected) intentions,[6] to true dialogue which makes symbolic language possible.[7][8]

The Mental and Social Life of Babies received highly positive reviews,[9][10][11] and appeared in Spanish,[12] Italian,[13] and Japanese[14] editions. Kaye's innovative microanalytic studies of parent-infant interaction in the 1970s have been discussed continuously to the present in hundreds of scholarly papers and books on diverse psychological topics.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

The IQ controversy

In the mid-1970s, he published 6 articles and book reviews on the controversy triggered by Arthur Jensen's famous Harvard Educational Review article[21] on the heritability of IQ. Kaye's message: "Educational revolution will not come until after educational psychology makes a paradigm shift. Psychology has sold society a dogmatic set of assumptions that preclude beliefs in the educability of children, the potential of curriculum, and the accountability of schools."[22]

The science of human behavior

Mainly growing out of his research methods in the work on infancy, 6 publications dealt with methodological rigor and interpretive issues in the science of human behavior.[23]

Family therapy and parenting

Beginning in 1981, Kaye became a licensed clinical psychologist and served on the faculty of the Family Institute of Chicago for several years. His private practice received a boost in 1984 from his book Family Rules: Raising Responsible Children.[24] A mass market edition by St. Martin’s Press continued to sell for 10 years; he published an updated edition in 2005.[25]

Family business systems and conflict resolution

In 1986, Kaye began to specialize his practice in consulting to families who were in business together. He was among the first psychologists to do so, phasing out his general clinical practice by the mid-1990s. By 2009, his published articles in this field[26] equalled in number those in his earlier, academic career. Kenneth Kaye's books in this field are Workplace Wars: Turning Personal Conflict to Productive Teamwork (1994)[27] and The Dynamics of Family Business (2005).[28]


  1. ^ "Books by Ken Kaye". 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kaye, K (1982). The Mental and Social Life of Babies. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.  
  4. ^ Piaget, J (1952). The Origins of Intelligence in Children. New York: Int'l Universities Press. 
  5. ^ Kaye, K; Wells, A (1980). "Mothers' jiggling and the burst-pause pattern in neonatal sucking.". Infant Behavior and Development 3: 29–46. 
  6. ^ Kaye, K (1980). "The temporal structure of face-to-face communication between mothers and infants". Developmental Psychology 16: 454–464. 
  7. ^ in Bullowa, M (1979). Before Speech. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ Press. pp. 191–206.  
  8. ^ in Olson, D (1980). The Social Foundations of Language and Thought. New York: W W Norton. pp. 211–230.  
  9. ^ 1983, 10:482-484International Review of Psychoanalysis
  10. ^ International Journal of Social Psychiatry, Vol. 32, No. 1, 70-71 (1986)
  11. ^ New York Review of Books 27 October 1983
  12. ^ Kaye, K (1986). La Vida Mental y Social del Bebé. Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Mexico: Paidos.  
  13. ^ Kaye, K (1989). La Vita Mentale e Sociale del Bambino. Roma: Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore.  
  14. ^ Kaye, K (1993). [Mental and Social Life of Infants].  
  15. ^ M. Perlmutter, Parent-child Interaction and Parent-child Relations in Child Development, Lawrence Erlbaum, 1984
  16. ^ D. Stern, The Interpersonal World of the Infant, Basic Books, 2000
  17. ^ T. Power, Play and Exploration in Children and Animals, Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000
  18. ^ C. Moore, The Development of Commonsense Psychology, Routledge, 2006
  19. ^ C. Raeff Always Separate, Always Connected, Routledge, 2006
  20. ^ V. Reddy, How Infants Know Minds, Harvard University Press, 2008
  21. ^ Jensen, A (February 1969). "How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement?". Harvard Educational Review. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Kaye, K (1984). Family Rules (1 ed.). New York: Walker.  
  25. ^ Kaye, K (2005). Family Rules. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse.  
  26. ^
  27. ^ Kaye, K (1994). Workplace Wars. New york: AMACOM.  
  28. ^ Kaye, K (2005). The Dynamics of Family Business. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse.  
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