Roger Brown (psychologist)
Early life and education
Roger Brown had three brothers; he was the one of the youngest. Even as a child he enjoyed school, his family was hit hard by the Depression.
World War II interrupted his education at the University of Michigan, he joined the Navy during his freshmen year at University of Michigan. While his time as an enlisted soldier he was accepted into the V-12 program. During the Battle of Okinawa he served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy, he spent a great deal of time on a boat; this is where he became interested in psychology. Brown was interested in many things; he was really interested in the linguistic study. He first started to read the book Behaviorism by John B. Watson; and later read other books by B. F. Skinner. These books ultimately encouraged him to go into the field of psychology; the books acted as his mentors.
He earning a Bachelors degree in psychology in 1948 and a Ph.D. in 1952.
In 1957 he left Harvard for a position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) where he wrote his monumental Words and Things. He became a full professor of psychology at M.I.T. in 1960.
Following his graduation from Michigan, he became an instructor and then assistant professor at Harvard. He was to teach Psychology of Language; in 1958 he published his own book, Words and Things. His book would soon be the inspiration of Steven Pinker's own book The Language Instinct. He was then asked to teach a Social Psychology course at Harvard. Throughout his time teaching Social Psychology, Brown became rather interested in the subject and started to write his own book on the matter. He published his first book in 1965 called Social Psychology; after he published his book he really dove into the study of Linguistic Development of Children.
He was then asked to teach a Social Psychology course at Harvard. Throughout his time teaching Social Psychology Brown became rather interested in the subject and started to write his own book on the matter. He published his first book in 1965, Social Psychology. 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 Social Psychology: The Second Edition, published in 1986. This was actually a very different book to the first edition.
After he published his book, he really dove into the study of Linguistic Development of Children. He then undertook a landmark study of the linguistic development of children, published in A First Language this book dealt with the first two stages of how a child learns their primary language. He found that there are five stages that are not chronically shown by the age of the child but by the mean of length utterance (MLU). MLU means how many numbers of morphemes a toddler can pronounce in a certain stage of development.
In 1976 Brown had written a paper on "Flashbulb Memories"; part of his research was done on the JFK assassination because it held such an emotional response to nearly everyone in the United States. Brown realized that it was not just the action; it had to be a high emotional memory for someone to remember what had happened and what they were doing at that exact moment. Brown used his theory on the JFK assassination in his textbook.
He followed this work with an introductory textbook on psychology, written with his colleague Richard Herrnstein. This textbook has been said to read at a high difficulty; other professors would read it to further educate themselves on topics such as "Flashbulb Memories" and "Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon". In 1986 Roger published the second edition of Social Psychology, he plainly named it Social Psychology: The Second Edition. Brown was a sought-after professor, his students loved his lectures and many asked him to be their academic adviser.
While at Harvard he became the John Lindsey Professor in Memory of William James, a position he held until his retirement in 1995. Roger Brown was the last Chairmen of Harvard's Department of Social Relations from 1967 to 1970. In 1971 he received the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award of the American Psychological l Association. Two years later Brown received the G. Stanley Hall Prize in Developmental Psychology of the American Association in 1973. His final award was given to him in 1985.
During his time at the University of Michigan, Brown started to experiment with his sexuality; he learned how to meet other gay men by a system they had devised; after he learned this system he met a man named Alber Gilam-Al. Little did he know that Al would be his partner for over 40 years. Brown was still very self conscious about what others will think of him if he were to be in fact gay.
Brown met a woman named Marian Sanders; Brown became in love with the idea of being in love with a woman. Marian had a sister Joan, the sisters, Al and Brown would double date; but the real lovers were Al and Brown. The girls did not realize that Al and Brown were lovers; Marian would often give hints to Brown that she thought more of him and would like to take their relationship to the next level. One night while they were having dinner Roger put on some music and Marian made a remark that didn't quit sit well with Brown; he later thought that this was the breaking point and he no longer considered marriage and going straight "Roger Brown (1925–1997): A Memorial." Journal of Homosexuality, 25(1): 1-2.</ref>. 40 years later Marian and Brown remained good friends; Brown and Al would later start their 40 year long partnership.
Gilman later became a professor of English at Boston University. While his sexual orientation and his relationship with Gilman were known to many of his close friends, and he served on the editorial board of The Journal of Homosexuality from 1985, he did not come out publicly until 1989. Some time after 1985 Al was diagnosed with lung cancer. Brown was then diagnosed with prostate cancer. While both of them were sick, their relationship started to change, they started to drift apart. Brown buried his partner in 1989 in Mount Auburn Cemetery. After Gilman died in 1989, Brown consoled himself by pursuing relationships with several younger men, chronicled in his memoir. Brown died in 1997; he is buried next to Al in the Mount Auburn Cemetery.
- Brown, R (1965) Social Psychology. Collier Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-978430-1
- Brown, R (1958) Words and Things. The Free Press. ISBN 0-02-904810-9 (1968 ed.)
- Bellugi, U. & Brown, R (1971) The Acquisition of Language. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76757-4
- Brown, R (Jun 1973) A First Language. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-30326-1
- Brown, R & Herrnstein R J (1977) Psychology. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-11204-6
- Brown, R (2003) Social Psychology, 2nd Edition. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-5340-X
- 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.
- "Roger Brown (1925–1997): A Memorial." Journal of Homosexuality, 37(1): 19.
- Gazette. 1998.
- NAP. 1997.
- Murray, Stephen O. 1999. "Roger Brown (1925–1997): A Memorial." Journal of Homosexuality, 37(1): 1-2.