Picture of Agora

Lea Pulkkinen

Ph.D., Professor
e-mail address: lea.pulkkinen@psyka.jyu.fi
Tel. +358 44 5524892
Mailing address: Sulkapolku 6 B 37, 00370 Helsinki, Finland
Link to the home page: http://users.jyu.fi/~leapulkk

Professor Emerita in Psychology
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Department of Psychology
P.O. Box 35, , 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland

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Dr. Lea Dr. Lea Pulkkinen is Professor Emerita in Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland (https://www.jyu.fi). She took her PhD at this university in 1970 and did her postdoctoral studies in the UK, at the University of Sussex. She has been a visiting scientist in the USA at the University of California, Berkeley; Arizona State University, Tempe; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Indiana University, Bloomington, as well as in Europe at the University of Cambridge, U.K and at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany.

At the University of Jyväskylä Pulkkinen (Pitkänen 1961-1975) has worked as a researcher and teacher since 1961, as an associate professor from 1971 to 1982, and thereafter as a full professor until her mandatory retirement in 2004. She served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Head of the Department of Psychology, Founding Director of the Family Research Center, and Deputy Director of the Agora Center (established for human-centered information technology). She was appointed as Academy Professor for 1996-2001, and she was Director of a National Centre of Excellence for Research (entitled Human Development and Its Risk Factors) from 1997 to 2005. She has served on a number of national committees, such as the Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland chaired by the Prime Minister; the Board of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters; the Board of Governors of Statistics Finland; the Scientific Board of the Finnish Psychological Association; the Scientific Board of the Finnish government's program on improving provisions for children and families; the Parliamentary Committee on Educational Objectives for Day Care; the National Advisory Committee for Early Education in Finland; the Board of the Church Research Institute; and the Council of the Finnish Board of Film Classification.

Lea Pulkkinen is a member of the Academia Europaea, and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. She was President of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD) from 1991 to 1996. She has participated in workshops and conferences in every continent. She has served on several European Expert Panels and Advisory Boards, such as the Evaluation Panel of Psychological Research at Uppsala University, Sweden, and the EU-project entitled Family Platform. .

Her major research project, the ongoing Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development (JYLS; in Finnish, "Lapsesta aikuiseksi") has lasted for more than 40 years. The study began as her doctoral dissertation. In this study the development of the same individuals has been followed from age 8 to age 50 (2009). She was the Principal Investigator of the study until 2012. Her successor as Principal Investigator of the JYLS is Dr. Katja Kokko, Research Director at the Gerontology Research Centre of the University of Jyväskylä. The data of the JYLS have been stored in the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (http://www.fsd.uta.fi) and they are available to researchers.

A synthesis of the results of the longitudinal study is presented in the book: Pulkkinen, L. (2017). Human development from the middle childhood to middle age: Growing up to be middle-aged. (In collaboration with Katja Kokko.). London: Routledge (in press). Pulkkinen has also been involved as a Co-Principal Investigator with Professor Jaakko Kaprio from the University of Helsinki in the Longitudinal Study of Health and Behavior in Finnish Twins (FinnTwin 12). The Principal Investigator of this twin study has been Professor Richard J. Rose, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. These two longitudinal studies are presented in a book: Pulkkinen, L., Kaprio, J., & Rose, R.J. (Eds.) (2006). Socioemotional development and health from adolescence to adulthood. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Pulkkinen has been interested in social innovations and applications of research findings to child rearing. She conducted a three-year intervention study in schools in 2002-2005 (in Finnish this is the MUKAVA-project, www.mukavahanke.com)); the major sub-project of it concerned the development of an integrated school day (Pulkkinen, 2004; Pulkkinen,L & Launonen, L. Eheytetty koulupäivä [Integrated schoolday]. Helsinki: Edita, 2005; see: Pulkkinen, L. (2012). The integrated school day: Improving the educational offering of schools in Finland. In C. Clouder, B. Heys, M. Matthes, & P. Sullivan (Eds.), Improving the quality of childhood in Europe 2012 (pp. 40-67). Brighton, UK: ECSWE, ISBN 1-900-169-30-4. http://www.allianceforchildhood.eu/publications The integrated school day helps in the coordination of school, work, and family life, and promotes children's cognitive and social skills. She has been worried about children's loneliness after school and has contributed to legislation on state support for schoolchildren's afternoon care.  

Minister of Education invited her in 2015 to collect information based on research and effective practices on the impacts of a flexible school day on student well-being, and to make development proposals concerning an appropriate structure for a flexible school day. See: Pulkkinen, L. (2016). An inspiring school day: An effort to transform research findings into policy. In M. Matthes, L. Pulkkinen, B. Heys, C. Clouder, & L. M. Pinto (Eds.), Improving the quality of childhood in Europe, Vol. 6 (pp. 52-69). Brussels, Belgium: Alliance for Childhood European Network. http://www.allianceforchildhood.eu/publications > The article is based on the report to the Ministry of Education and Culture: Pulkkinen, L. (2015). Innostava koulupäivä: Ehdotus joustavan koulupäivän rakenteen vakiinnuttamiseksi. An inspiring school day. A proposal for making a flexible school day and established structure. In Finnish with an English abstract.] Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland. (Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön työryhmämuistioita ja selvityksiä 2015:6.) http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75195

Pulkkinen is the Chairperson of the Haukkala Foundation, www.haukkalansaatio.com which aims at promoting well-being in children. The foundation is a member of the Alliance for Childhood European Network Group: www.allianceforchildhood.eu the goal of which is the improvement of the quality of childhood. Pulkkinen is a member of the council of this organization. In these contexts she has an opportunity to network with researchers and stakeholders interested in the advancement of the application of research findings into practice which she has been very much interested in during her career.

Lea Pulkkinen, dr. h. c., has received several national and international awards as listed in the Biographical Sketch.

Updated February 18, 2017