Robert Krueger

Origins and Consequences of Individual Differences: The History and Legacy of Psychology at Minnesota


Headshot of Dr. Bob Krueger

Robert Krueger, PhD, is one of the most highly cited psychologists in the world.  Krueger's influence is due in part to his work in bringing data regarding individual differences to bear on the study of human psychopathology.  For example, Krueger is part of the leadership of an international project, The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP), which aims to articulate a taxonomy of symptoms that provide researchers and practitioners with a means to describe an individual’s mental health issues, as well as their major and minor symptoms, along a spectrum. Historically, professionals depended on more “authority-based” approaches such as the  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).   By relying more on data, approaches like HiTOP better accommodate the complexity of human psychopathology, thereby seeking to improve diagnosis and intervention, and also impacting authoritative taxonomies such as the DSM. 

Krueger’s 1996 PhD thesis, completed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, focused on personality traits and mental disorders; ever since then, he has explored links between personality and psychopathology, as well as health and aging in a broad sense.  Krueger pinpoints the importance of advances in genetics and computing power as essential to improving empirical inquiry in these areas. Genetic data can be studied in conjunction with behavioral data and more computing power can allow for better-leveraging developments in data analysis.  Krueger is also a leader in twin research, another hallmark of research in individual differences, and serves as the director of the Minnesota Twin Registry.  Krueger is currently the principal investigator on grants totaling over $6 million, including one from the National Institute on Aging that will examine the significance of adverse interpersonal experiences for diminished health later in life. 

Krueger, Robert F., Roman Kotov, David Watson, Miriam K. Forbes, Nicholas R. Eaton, Camilo J. Ruggero, Leonard J. Simms, et al. "Progress in Achieving Quantitative Classification of Psychopathology." World Psychiatry 17, no. 3 (September 2018): 282-293.

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