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Ivan Mervielde (1947-2011)

On Monday August 22, 2011, the field of personality psychology in Europe lost one of its founders, Ivan Mervielde.

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Picture of Ivan

Picture of Ivan

published: 25.08.2011 by Jaap Denissen

Ivan obtained the degree of “Licentiaat Psychologische en Pedagogische Wetenschappen” [Licentiate in Psychology and Educational Sciences], major Education (1969) and Developmental Psychology (1970) from the State University of Ghent. In 1974, he obtained a Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of California in Santa Barbara and in 1977 his PhD on “Persoonsperceptie als informatieverwerking” [person perception and information processing] at the State University of Ghent under the supervision of Prof. Dr. William De Coster.

Ivan started his academic career as a researcher at the Laboratory of Experimental, Differential and Developmental Psychology of the State University of Ghent in 1969. In 1991 he became assistant professor, in 1997 associate professor, and in 2003 full professor at Ghent University. He was visiting professor at the Catholic University of Leuven from 1992 to 1993.

Since 2004, he was head of the Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology at Ghent University, grouping 8 full-time professors, 9 postdocs and 25 full-time research staff.

He was a founding member of the European Association of Personality Psychology (EAPP) in 1982, and organized the 8th European Conference on Personality in Ghent in 1996. He was president of the European Association of Personality Psychology (1998-2000) and Editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Personality (2001-2004).

Ivan is best known for his research on personality and temperamental differences in children and adolescents and his recent work on the link between personality and psychopathology in childhood. In addition, he also researched social cognition and the associations between personality and right wing ideology. This research was done in strong collaboration with his PhD students Caroline Braet, Filip De Fruyt, Alain Van Hiel, Karla Van Leeuwen, Barbara De Clercq, and Sarah De Pauw and was published in major journals from a broad range of psychological disciplines.

Since 1990, Ivan has taught introductory courses social psychology to students in Psychology, Criminology, Law, Political Science and Sociology. This year more than 1,500 first year bachelor students attended his social psychology course. He has also taught personality psychology to students in Psychology.

Ivan will be remembered by his colleagues as a brilliant and creative scholar, thorough and persistent, with a broad view on the discipline of psychology, and prolific and witty in speech and writing. He was a loyal friend and colleague, concerned about his department and its collaborators. Most of all, he was dedicated to his family.

He is survived by his mother, his wife Arlette and his sons Tim and Daan.

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