Keith Davis, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
1512 Pendleton St
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208

Phone: (803) 771-7254
Mobile: (803) 348-4507

Keith E. Davis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and has been Chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina and at Livingston College of Rutgers University. He also served as Interim Dean of Liberals at USC and as Provost from 1975-1979. His editorial work includes serving as the Founding Editor for Advances in Descriptive Psychology and as an active co-editor for seven of its ten volumes. He has also been Associate Editor of Personal Relationships and Executive Editor of the Journal of Social Psychology and its book review editor. He has served on many editorial boards including Transaction, Violence & Victims, and the Journal for Social & Personal Relationships. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Duke University in 1963. At Duke, he had the good fortune to be mentored by Edward E. (Ned) Jones, and to work with Kurt Back, & Al Kerckhoff. His three years included very rewarding work with these three faculty members and with Kenneth Gergen, a fellow graduate student. In 1962, as a brand new assistant professor in the Psychology Department of the University of Colorado, Boulder, he met Peter G. Ossorio. 

According to Keith:

  • “That first year we had adjacent offices and talked often about intentionality, the perception of persons, and related topics. Because of my work with Ned Jones on these topics, I considered myself a national expert, and I found these conversations perplexing because Peter always had a different slant on things in the discipline than I was used to hearing. I became convinced that he was onto something. Reading the early drafts of “Persons” (1965) and reading materials (which included many articles from Mind and the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society) for his courses in personality theory and assessment made me convinced that there was something profoundly different and potentially useful about what later came be called Descriptive Psychology. Then we called it ‘Pete’s stuff’.”

As the number of students who had taken Pete’s classes and worked with him on dissertations grew, we began to examine how to formalize the benefits of getting together to share ideas and insights and most of all to learn from Pete. This led to the founding of the Society for Descriptive Psychology in 1978 in Boulder. My primary involvement with the Society has been as the founding editor of Advances in Descriptive Psychology, the series of edited volumes that gave practitioners of DP a chance to do their stuff without the substantial compromises that publishing in the mainstream psychology journals would have required. My own research areas are personal relationships, friendship, love, as well as the dark side of relationships including violence against intimate partners and dangerous stalking.