Rolf Oerter

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Rolf Oerter (born June 27, 1931 in Würzburg ) is a German psychologist and emeritus professor of developmental psychology. He has decisively shaped and structured developmental psychology in Germany.

Live and act

From 1952 to 1955 Oerter was initially a teacher for the elementary school. In 1960 he obtained a diploma in psychology from the University of Würzburg . In 1963 he received his doctorate there and in 1969 he completed his habilitation in Würzburg. From 1969 to 1981 he was a professor in Augsburg, then he moved to the Ludwig Maximilians University (Munich), where he headed the chair for developmental psychology from 1981 to 1999. From 1989 to 1991 he was dean of the faculty for psychology and education.

Oerter became well known in the specialist field through the standard work developmental psychology , which he published together with Leo Montada in the 6th edition (2008).

Oerter has been professor emeritus at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich since the summer semester of 1999 . Among other things, he continues to give lectures and supervise doctoral students - he is also a member of the scientific advisory board of the Giordano Bruno Foundation . He lives and works in Munich .


  • 2010: Prize of the Swiss Margrit Egnér Foundation in recognition of contributions to anthropological psychology
  • 2003: Federal Cross of Merit on ribbon

Research priorities

  • Image of man in a cultural comparison - the intuitive (naive) philosophy of man
  • Music psychology - listening to music, making music, acquiring expertise
  • Dolphin therapy - empirical research on the mode of action of animal-human interaction
  • Innovation in kindergarten and school: Better use of developmental, cognitive and learning psychological knowledge for teaching and education
  • Evaluation research: The establishment of the Aton School in Munich was scientifically supported by him and recommended in a final report. In July 2006 the Bavarian Ministry of Education approved the continuation of the school.

Publications (selection)

As an author

  • R. Oerter: Psychology of the game. Paperback. Beltz, Weinheim 1999.
  • R. Oerter: Play Therapy: An Action Theory Approach. In: G. Röper, C. v. Hagen, G. Noam (Ed.): Development and Risk. Perspectives of a clinical developmental psychology. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2001, pp. 117-138.
  • R. Oerter: Game. In: B. Herpetz-Dahlmann, F. Resch, M. Schulte-Markwart, A. Warnke (eds.): Developmental Psychiatry . Schattauer, Stuttgart 2003, pp. 136-150.
  • R. Oerter: Play as a crucial activity in leisure and labor. In: WC Kriz, Th. Eberle (Ed.): Bridging the gap: Transforming knowledge into action through gaming and simulation. Ostler Druck, Passau 2004.
  • R. Oerter, L. Montada: Developmental Psychology. 5th, completely revised edition. Beltz / PVU, Weinheim 2002.
  • R. Oerter: Man, the wondrous being. What evolution, culture and ontogenesis make of us. Springer, Heidelberg 2014.
  • R. Oerter: Culture as friend, enemy and master of evolution. Pabst Science, Lengerich 2016.

As editor

  • R. Oerter, C. v. Hagen, G. Röper, G. Noam (Ed.): Clinical developmental psychology. A textbook. Psychologie Verlags Union, Weinheim 1999.
  • R. Oerter, S. Höfling (Ed.): Participation and participation of children and young people. (= Reports and studies of the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Volume 83). Atwerb Verlag, Munich 2001.
  • Th. H. Stoffer, R. Oerter (Ed.): Music Psychology. Volume 1: General Music Psychology. (= Encyclopedia of Psychology. Music Psychology. Volume 1). Hogrefe, Göttingen 2005.
  • R. Oerter, Th. H. Stoffer (Ed.): Musikpsychologie. Volume 2: Special Music Psychology. (= Encyclopedia of Psychology. Music Psychology. Volume 2). Hogrefe, Göttingen 2005.

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