Faculty & Staff

Timothy D. Johnston


Dean Emeritus, College of Arts & Sciences
Eberhart 262
(336) 256-0019


Developmental Psychology
Developmental systems theory; evolution and development of behavior; history of comparative psychology

Research Interests:

Developmental systems theory, especially the roles of experience and gene activity in behavioral development

Relationships of developmental and evolutionary change in behavior

History of psychology and biology, especially the concept of instinct, comparative psychology in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the influence of evolutionary theory on psychology

Professional History:

Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2002-2016

President, Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences, 2014-2015

Head, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1997-2002

Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1990-1997

Selected publications:

Johnston, T. D.  2015. Gilbert Gottlieb and the biopsychosocial perspective on developmental issues. In S. D. Calkins (ed.), Handbook of infant development: Biopsychosocial perspectives, pp. 11-24. Guilford Publications.

Johnston, T. D. 2010. Developmental systems theory. In M. S. Blumberg, J. H. Freeman, & S. R. Robinson (eds.), Oxford handbook of developmental behavioral neuroscience, pp. 12-29. New York: Oxford University Press.

Johnston, T. D., & Lickliter, R. 2009. A developmental systems theory perspective on psychological change. In J. P. Spencer, M. S. C. Thomas, & J. L. McClelland (eds.). Toward a unified theory of development: Connectionism and dynamic systems theory re-considered, pp. 285-296. New York: Oxford University Press.

Johnston, T. D. 2008. Genes, experience, and behavior. In A. Fogel, B. J. King, & S. G. Shanker (eds.), Human development in the 21st century: Visionary ideas from systems scientists, pp. 18-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Logan, C. A., & Johnston, T. D. 2007. Synthesis and separation in the history of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture.’ Developmental Psychobiology, 49:758-769

Johnston, T. D.  2007.  The role of genes in probabilistic epigenesis: Rethinking the nature of ‘nature.’ European Journal of Developmental Science, 1:122-130.

Johnston, T. D.  2003.  Three pioneers of American comparative psychology, 1843-1890: Lewis Henry Morgan, John Bascom, and Joseph LeConte.  History of Psychology, 6:14-51.

Johnston, T. D. 2002. An early manuscript in the history of American comparative psychology: Lewis Henry Morgan’s “Animal Psychology” (1857).  History of Psychology, 5:323-355.

Johnston, T. D., & Edwards, L.  2002. Genes, interactions, and the development of behavior. Psychological Review, 109:26-34.

Johnston, T. D. 2001. Towards a systems view of development: An appraisal of Lehrman’s critique of Lorenz. In S. Oyama, P.E. Griffiths, & R.D. Gray (eds.), Cycles of contingency: Developmental systems and evolution, pp. 15-23. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Johnston, T. D.  1995.  The influence of Weismann’s theory of the germ plasm on the dichotomy between innate and learned behavior.  Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 31:115-128.

Full C.V.

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