David Magnusson, porträtt. Foto: ORASIS FOTO/MÅ.

David Magnusson

Professor emeritus

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Psychology
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 8, 9, 12 B, 14
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me


  • Teachers College, Linköping 1942-1946.
  • Cantor exam, Linköping 1948.
  • Erica Child Guidance Clinic, Stockholm 1952-53.
  • Department of Psychology, Stockholm University:
  • BA, 1955
  • Fil.lic., 1957
  • PhD, 1959.


  • Elementary school teacher 1946-52; 1953-54.
  • School psychologist 1954-55.
  • Research assistant 1955-58.
  • University lecturer 1958-64.
  • Associate professor 1965-69.
  • Olof Eneroth professor of psychology, Stockholm University, Department of Psychology 1969-1992.
  • Emeritus from January 1, 1993.

Scientific Affiliations - Academies of Sciences

  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences: Member 1979. The executive committee, member 1986-1998; Vice-president 1991-94. Section for Economics and Social Sciences, Chairman 1991-99. Committee for an analysis of the situation at the Swedish Universities, Chairman, 1985. National Committee for Psychology, Chairman, 1985-91.
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, member, 1977.
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, member, 1989.
  • Academia Europaea, member 1988, Vice President, 1988-97.
  • European Academy of Arts and Sciences, Paris, member, 1985.
  • New York Academy of Science, 1980.
  • Rumanian Academy of Sciences, member, 1992.
  • Russian Academy of Sciences, foreign member, 1999.
  • AAAS, member, 1974.

Other Scientific Affiliations 1985-2001

  • The Center for the Study of Child and Adolescent Development, Penn State, USA, member of the Advisory Board, 1985-91.
  • Carolina Consortium on Human Development, Center for Developmental Science, Chapel Hill, USA, Advisory Board, member, 1993-2000.
  • Institute for Children, Youth and Families, Michigan State University, member of the External Advisory Board, 1992-1996.
  • International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD), member of the Executive Committee, 1991-98.
  • European Association of Personality Psychology, member of the Board, 1986-92.
  • Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development and Education, Berlin, Germany; Scientific Advisory Committee, 1987-98.

Research Councils

  • Swedish Social Science Research Council, 1970-1977, member.
  • Swedish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, Vice-president, 1977-83; Chairman of the Executive Committee, 1980-83.
  • The Scientific Council of the Swedish Defence Organization, 1974-1983, member.
  • National Council for Crime Prevention: Scientific Committee, member, 1980-87.
  • The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, 1980-86, member of the Board.
  • Committee for Economic and Social Sciences, EC, Brussels, 1991-93, member.
  • The US Social Science Research Council, New York, 1990-96; member of the Board of Directors.
  • European Science Foundation, Executive Council:
  • Member 1983-1989.
  • Vice-President 1986-1989.
  • The European Network on Longitudinal Research on Individual Development, 1985-92, Chairman.
  • The ESF Review Committee for Brain and Behaviour Research, 1988, Chairman.
  • The Swedish Council for Planning and Coordination of Research, 1980-83, member of the Board.

Public Service

  • The Swedish Psychological Association, Secretary, 1957-59; Vice-chairman, 1959-61, Chairman, 1961-62.
  • The Swedish Association of University Lecturers, 1962-64, Chairman.
  • The National Government Commission; Report on methods for personnel selection in public service, 1968-70, member.
  • The Swedish Association of University Professors, 1970-78, Chairman.
  • School of Social Studies, Östersund. Member of the Boartd, 1970- 
  • University Chancellor´s Office: Report on Cooperation Organization at the Universities, 1971-73, member.
  • Government Commission: Postgraduate Education, 1974-77, member; Committee: Report on the University Positions, 1975-76, Chairman.
  • National Board of Health and Welfare, member 1978-80.
  • University Chancellor´s Office: The National Faculty Advisory Board, The National Government Research Advisory Board, 1980-83, 1986-89, 1991-94, member.
  • Committee “The State and Research”, 1993-94, Chairman. Report nr 5 in Agenda 2000 from the Ministry of Science and Education.
  • The Publishing House 'Natur och Kultur' 1980-95; Chairman of the Board 1988-1995.
  • Government; Report on the British System for Allocation of Resources to Research Councils and Universities, 1989.
  • The Science Commission of the European Communities - Economic, Social and Human Sciences Group, 1991-1993, member.
  • European Association of Personality Psychology, 1986-92, member of the Board 1989.
  • Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, The Socio-Economic Council, 1981-95, member.
  • The Planning Committee for Administrative, Economic and Social Programs at the Swedish Universities, 1978-80, member.
  • The Swedish Pugwash Group, 1996, member.

Editorial Boards (past and present memberships)

  • Multivariate Behavioral Research
  • Applied Psychological Measurement
  • German Journal of Psychology
  • Annual Review of Social Psychology
  • Journal of Theoretical Psychology
  • Zeitschrift für Psychologie
  • The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • Anxiety Research
  • The European Journal of Personality
  • European Journal of Psychology of Education
  • Personality and Individual Differences
  • Development and Psychopathology
  • Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health
  • The Journal of Research on Adolescence
  • European Journal of Psychological Assessment
  • The Spanish Journal of Psychology
  • Russian Journal of Foreign Psychology

Invited Lectures at Foreign Universities

  • University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Battalle Research Institute, Seattle, USA
  • University of Bergen, Norway
  • University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • University of Leiden, The Netherlands
  • University of Budapest, Hungary
  • University of South Florida, USA
  • University of Chicago, USA
  • University of Toronto, Canada
  • University of Trondheim, Norway
  • University of Lancaster, England
  • University of Sheffield, England
  • University of York, England
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
  • Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, USA
  • Pennsylvania State University, USA
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
  • University of Warsaw, Poland
  • University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • University of Stanford, USA
  • University of Helsinki, Finland
  • University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • University of Moscow, Russia
  • Harvard University, USA
  • Stanford University, USA
  • Humboldt University Berlin.

Invited papers

Invited papers at symposia and conferences in Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Czechoslovakia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, the US, Spain, Switzerland.

International Symposia on Interactionism

  • Saltsjöbaden 1975, Papers published in Magnusson, D., & Endler, N. (1977). Personality at the Crossroads. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Lidingö 1979, Papers published in Magnusson D. (1981). Towards a Psychology of Situations. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Lidingö 1981, Papers published in Magnusson D., & Allen, V. L (1983). Human Development: An Interactional Perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Lidingö 1984, Papers published in Magnuson, D., & Öhman, A. (1987). Psychopathology: An Interactional Perspective. Orlando; Academic Press.
  • Lidingö, 1994, Nobelsymposium, papers published in Magnusson, D. (1996). The Life Span Development of Individuals. London: Cambridge University Press.


Published books, journal articles and book chapters in psychometrics, personality and development. Main interest in general models and methodology in personality and individual development research.

Magnusson's abstracts in the Annual Report database.


  • Knight of the Northern Star, 1973.
  • The Royal Medal of the Seraphim, 1989.
  • Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Gold Medal, 2006.
  • Honorary Doctor of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, 1984.
  • Speaker of the Year, 1990, Irish Psychological Association.
  • Speaker of the year, 1997, Faculty of Psychology, Bergen, Norway.
  • Honorary member of the Swedish Psychological Association, 1989.
  • Honorary Doctor of the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, 1996.
  • John P. Hill Memorial Award, Society for Research in Adolescence, USA, 1998.
  • Honorary Doctor of the State University of Humanitarian Sciences in Moscow, 1998.
  • The European Aristotle Prize, 1999.
  • SRCD Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award, 1999.
  • International Association of Applied Psychology ( IAAP) for Extraordinary contribution to Applied psychology. Invited Fellow, 2006.
  • The EAPP Distinguished European Personality Psychologist Award, 2008.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2014. David Magnusson. The developmental science of adolescence, 318-331

    This chapter presents my ideas for how to study individual development as a transformation process. I hope that they can be helpful to researchers planning to conduct longitudinal research. The main vehicle for outlining these ideas is a description of a longitudinal research program that I initiated and led for more than 30 years, namely Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA). It is presented in some detail, and includes the process of IDA's initiation and planning. The theoretical and empirical implications of the carrying out of the program for research on the adolescent period are discussed at the end of the chapter. Because my early experiences and educational background have been decisive for how IDA was designed and implemented, some personal information is also included.

  • 2012. David Magnusson. European Psychologist 17 (1), 21-27

    In everyday language the terms psychology and psychological are used in very different meanings, without a clear definition of what the terms refer to. This article is an attempt to meet the need for clarification of the content and boundaries of psychology as a scientific discipline. This is a prerequisite for real scientific contribution to progress in cross-disciplinary research and to decision making in societal and cultural processes. Applying a holistic – interactionistic view as the frame of reference for planning, implementation, and interpretation of single studies, the target of theoretical and empirical analyses is the human psychobiological and social being in continuous interaction with his/her proximal and distal environment.

  • 2012. David Magnusson.

    International research cooperation in the field of developmental psychology has clearly acknowledged the contribution from the Swedish longitudinal research programme Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA). This is evident in many ways – international assessments, participation in international research cooperation, visits of varying duration by researchers from abroad, and so on. Work on the project has entailed interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers in various fields of direct concern for the formulation of relevant questions and their consequences for correct research strategies, research methods and conclusions. This collaboration has been imbued with the holistic theoretical framework for research in developmental psychology that is the primary focus of another research programme, Holistic Interactionism. During the most active period, these two programmes cross-fertilised each other in practice. This found expression in a regular series of joint research seminars and in the supervision of PhD students.

  • 2006. Lars R Bergman, A von Eye, David Magnusson. Developmental psychopathology., 850-888

    In this chapter, person-oriented research strategies in developmental psychopathology are reviewed. By "person-oriented", we mean research strategies where the focus is on the individual and not on the variable. The information about each individual is regarded, as far as possible, as an indivisible unit, both conceptually and in the empirical analyses. It usually implies that individuals are studied on the basis of their pattern of information in relevant variables at the appropriate level. This approach is in contrast to the standard variable-oriented approach where the variable is the main conceptual and methodological unit. In the person-oriented approach, most commonly the variable alone has no importance. Only in combination with other variables in an information pattern does it achieve meaning. These fundamental conceptual and theoretical issues are discussed in the chapter. Common person-oriented research methods are presented and discussed in the context of studying individual development.

  • 2006. David Magnusson, Håkan Stattin. Theoretical Models of Human Development, 400-464

    The chapter presents an analysis of individual development as an integrated process, in which mental, biological, and behavioral aspects of individual functioning and social, economic, and physical factors in the environment are involved. It is suggested that an individual's way of thinking, feeling, acting, and reacting at any stage of the life process is the result of an integrated transformation process which takes place on the basis of biologically based potentialities and restrictions. The measurement implications of this view are discussed with reference to a person approach in research on developmental processes.

  • 2005. Margit Wångby, David Magnusson, Håkan Stattin. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 46 (2), 145-156

    The aim of this study was to investigate stability and change over 26 years in self-reported adjustment of Swedish teenage girls. Data were collected with the same questionnaire from two school-cohorts in a middle-sized Swedish community: 522 girls attending Grade 8 (approximately at age 15) in 1970, and 529 girls attending Grade 8 in 1996. The first cohort was part of the longitudinal research programme Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA). In most domains, adjustment problems were approximately as common in 1996 as in 1970, with two exceptions: more girls reported problems with self-esteem and antisocial problems in 1996. In the antisocial domain, a polarization process was indicated, with an increase also in the number of girls without adjustment problems. In the relational domains, especially peer relations, there was an increase in positive adjustment. The results are discussed in relation to earlier findings and to social changes during the period.

  • 2005. Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, Ingemar Arn, David Magnusson. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 12 (2), 59-65

    A necessary condition for the individual's survival is the capacity for mental, behavioral, and physiological adaptation to external and internal conditions. Consequently, the integrated organism strives to maintain a dynamic, functional balance and integrity under varying conditions. Effective individual adaptation processes are basically dependent on the functioning of the integrated psychophysiological system. In humans, the brain plays a fundamental role in these processes. It serves the adaptation of individuals to current and anticipated conditions by selecting, interpreting, and transforming information into mental, behavioral, and physiological responses. In doing so, the incoming information is linked to existing structures of emotions, values, and goals. Consequently, the interpretation of external information may vary and become subjective depending on an individual's present and past experiences (see e.g., Magnusson, 2003). Hitherto, empirical research has been mainly concerned with the aspect of the psychophysiological system, which is activated in situations that are perceived by the individual as threatening, harmful, or demanding and in which the fight-flight and stress responses described by Cannon (1929) and Selye (1976) play an important role. The aim of this article is to draw attention to a component of the psychophysiological system, the calm and connection system, underlying well-being and socialization. By including this new system, the model of the integrated individual becomes more complete and it enriches the understanding of emotional aspects of brain functioning.

  • 2005. David Magnusson, Håkan Stattin. Theoretical models of human development, 400-464

    The chapter emphasizes the importance of a general frame of reference for designing, implementing, and interpreting studies on specific issues in individual developmental processes. Theoretical, methodological and reseach strategy implications are discussed.

Show all publications by David Magnusson at Stockholm University

Last updated: September 8, 2017

Bookmark and share Tell a friend