Melvin L. Kohn

Academy Professor and Professor Emeritus, Sociology

Greenhouse 105
Curriculum Vitae


I received my PhD in sociology, with minors in social psychology and industrial relations, from Cornell University in 1952. I conducted research in the Laboratory of Socio-environmental Studies of the National Institute of Mental Health from 1952 to 1985, serving as chief of that laboratory from 1960 on. I left there to come to Johns Hopkins as professor of sociology.

For most of my career my research has been in the field of social structure and personality. In recent years, this work has been almost entirely cross-nationally comparative and collaborative – initially comparing Washington, D.C. to Torino, Italy, later and much more intensively, comparing the United States to then-socialist Poland and to Japan. My most recent research has focused on social structure and personality under conditions of radical social change – beginning with a comparative study of Poland and Ukraine during the early stages of their transition from socialism to nascent capitalism, currently comparing transitional China to Poland and Ukraine. All of these studies have been done in collaboration with sociologists in those countries.

I am a past-president of the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, and the Sociological Research Association, and a former member of the executive committee of the International Sociological Association. I am an honorary foreign member of the Polish Sociological Association, and am or have been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Class, Stratification, and Personality
Dissertation Seminar
Seminar on Cross-National Comparative Research
Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Linear Structural-Equations Modeling
Sociological Analysis
Social Structure and Personality

Melvin L. Kohn, Weidong Wang, and Yin Yue. "Social Structure and Personality during the Transformation of Urban China: A Comparison of Urban China to Transitional Poland and Ukraine." Social Forces. (Dec. 2012): Pp. 347-374.

Social Structure and Personality: Studies by Melvin L. Kohn and his Collaborators. Papers translated into Ukrainian and edited by Valeriy Khmelko, Vladimir I. Paniotto, and Svitlana Oksamytna. The Academic Press of the University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy (2007).

"Review Essay: The Bell Curve from the Perspective of Research on Social Structure and Personality." 1996. Sociological Forum 11 (June): 395-411.

"Social Structure and Personality under Conditions of Radical Social Change: A Comparative Analysis of Poland and Ukraine." (with Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Krystyna Janicka, Valeri Khmelko, Bogdan W. Mach, Vladimir Paniotto, Wojciech Zaborowski, Roberto Gutierrez, and Cory Heyman). 1997. American Sociological Review 62 (August): 614-638

Two Visions of the Relationship Between Social Structure and Personality: The Bell Curve Versus Social Structure and Personality.(PDF)

Social Structure and Personality under Conditions of Apparent Social Stability and Radical Social Change. (PDF)

"Complexity of Activities and Personality Under Conditions of Radical Social Change: A Comparative Analysis of Poland and Ukraine." (with Wojciech Zaborowski, Krystyna Janicka, Bogdan W. Mach, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Valeriy Khmelko, Cory Heyman, and Bruce Podobnik.) 2000. Social Psychology Quarterly 63 (No. 3): 187-208.