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Jozef M. Nuttin

Jef Nuttin (born in Brugge, 1933) received a Master's degree in psychology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) in 1957, followed by a Ph.D. degree from the same university (1959). His Master' thesis as well as his doctoral thesis, both prepared under the supervision of his uncle, Joseph R. Nuttin, Sr., concerned the attitude of Flemish students towards the Walloons.

Between 1959 and 1962 he taught a series of courses at the Université Lovanium in Congo, then a Belgian colony. In 1960-61, with the support of a postdoctoral Nato fellowship, he spent a year at the Research Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

He returned to Leuven in 1962, when he took up an academic position in social psychology, first as associate professor (docent) and later (1967) as full professor (gewoon hoogleraar) until his retirement in 1998. He taught social psychology for psychology, education and political and social science students. In addition, he taught an introductory psychology course for students in the exact and the biomedical sciences.

In 1963 he founded the Leuven Laboratory for Experimental Social Psychology. In 1965 he became one of the founders of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology, of which he later alo became president. He acted as dean of the first European Research Training Seminar in Experimental Social Psychology, a summer school for (West- and East() European Ph.D. students, held at Leuven in 1967. In 1971 he was co-founder of the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Aside from holding a number of visiting positions (Utrecht, Paris, Dartmouth), he also gave numerous lectures and presentations in Europe, the United States, Mexico and Australia. He was a promotor of 12 Ph.D. dissertations and about 100 Master's theses.

Most of his research was published in international journals (International Journal of Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, European Journal of Social Psychology), but he also contributed a number of bookchapters and he wrote a book on "The illusion of attitude change" (1975). His research concerned, amongst others, cognitive dissonance theory, affective preferences for elements of the self (the nameletter effect), an analysis of quasi-social behavior (including a re-interpretation of Harlow's "The nature of love"), and a search for a unifying theory of social behavior.

He also held numerous research and university education related executive positions. He was dean of Leuven Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (1970-73) and president of the Leuven Division of the Flemish University Professors (1968). For 15 years he was member and chairman of the Committee for Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (1975-90). He was chairman of the first curriculum evaluation committee for Psychology in the Netherlands (1987-88). Also in the Netherlands, he is since 1992 a member of the subcommittee for Social and Behavioral Sciences of ECOS, a licensing committee for graduate schools. 

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