Diane Sunar (Emeritus)

Born in 1943 in Mississippi, USA, Diane Sunar received her BA degree in English Literature from Whittier College in 1965; she went on to earn her Ph.D. in the field of social psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973. Coming to Turkey in 1972, Sunar taught in the Social Sciences Department of Middle East Technical University until 1979.  Following this, she taught in the Psychology Department of Boğaziçi University from 1979 to 2002, during which time she was awarded the titles of associate professor (docent) (1987) and professor (1996). She taught the first psychology courses offered at İstanbul Bilgi University beginning in 1997 and transferred to Bilgi in 2002.  She served as chair of the Psychology Department from 2002 to 2014 (except for two years), and as dean of the Faculty of Letters and Sciences from 2010 to 2012. Additionally, she has had visiting appointments in various universities in the U.S.A. In 2018 she became professor emeritus.

Sunar’s research and publications have focused on interventions to support child development; child rearing practices; early childhood and peace; the sources of stereotypes; emotional display rules; and the psychology of morality. She has directed more than 35 master’s theses, published more than 50 articles and book chapters, and given more than 70 presentations or invited lectures at psychology conferences and conventions. In 2017 she was given a lifetime achievement award at the national social psychology convention. A member of several national and international psychology associations, Sunar has served as a reviewer for a number of national and international psychology journals. She has served as a consultant for various institutions and has been a member of the scientific advisory board for AÇEV since 1992.


1973 Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (Psychology)
1965 B.A. Whittier College (English)


Current courses:

  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Human Nature

Previous years:

  • Social Psychology (introductory, advanced, and graduate levels)
  • Developmental Social Psychology (graduate)
  • Developmental Psychology (undergraduate, including Child Psychology and Adolescent Psychology)
  • Psychology of Personality (undergraduate)
  • Psychology of Morality (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Culture and Social Behavior; Culture and Personality (undergraduate)
  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Research Methods (introductory and advanced); Applied Research
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Literature Review

Areas of Interest

Research interests:

  • psychology of morality and justice
  • child rearing practices and their effects
  • interventions to support child development
  • early childhood and peace
  • sources of stereotypes
  • emotional display rules

Rewards and Achievements

  • 2018    Professor emeritus, Istanbul Bilgi University
  • 2017    Lifetime achievement award, Turkish Social Psychology Conference
  • 2012-2018     Elected representative, University Senate, İstanbul Bilgi University
  • 2010-2012     Dean, Faculty of Letters and Science, İstanbul Bilgi University
  • 2010-2014     Member, Research Ethics Review Board, İstanbul Bilgi University
  • 2002-2011 and 2013-2014      Chair, Department of Psychology, İstanbul Bilgi University
  • 2007-2009:  Professorial representative, University Executive Committee, Istanbul Bilgi University

Other Information

April-June 2013:     Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles

1993-2002:      Professor, Department of Psychology, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

Jan.-May 2000:      Visiting Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

1994-1995:       Visiting Professor, Department of Psychology, Whittier College, Whittier, California

1987-1993:       Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

1979-1987:       Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

1982-1990:       Part-time Instructor in Psychology, University of Maryland University College, Mediterranean Division

1972-1979:       Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

1971-1972:       Instructor, Department of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton