Health + Behavior

Rosslyn Gaines: Eclectic UCLA Researcher Championed Families with Deaf Children and Parents; Explored Artists' Dream Imagery


Rosslyn Gaines, aninternationally respected developmental and clinical psychologist, and UCLAprofessor emeritus of psychiatry and psychology, died November 23 at her homein Brentwood, Calif., after a three-month battle with leukemia. She was 75.

Gaines joined UCLA'sNeuropsychiatric Institute in 1971. Previously, she was a research psychologistat the Institute of Human Development at UC Berkeley, and an associateresearcher at Gallaudet University for the Deaf in Washington, DC.

Gaines' research centeredon the cognitive and emotional development of deaf children with hearingparents — and deaf parents with hearing children. In 1982, she founded andserved as director of UCLA's Hearing-Impaired Children, Infants and Parents'Services, which provides psychotherapy and counseling to families with a deafchild or parent.

Her lifelong interestin the development of deaf children was sparked when her daughter, Katherine,lost her hearing during birth. Gaines mastered American Sign Language and usedit fluently during her patients' therapy sessions.

"Rosslyn Gaines wasthe foremost psychologist in the country conducting research on deaf children,and her death leaves a major void," said Dr. Gloria Johnson-Powell, professorof pediatrics and psychiatry, and associate dean for faculty at the Universityof Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison, Wis.

"She was also one ofthe most outstanding developmental psychologists in the field of perceptualcognitive studies," said Johnson-Powell, who co-led a study with Gaines on theperceptual cognitive development of black children in Los Angeles, theCaribbean and Africa.

An enthusiastictraveler, Gaines lectured and conducted research in Indonesia, West Africa andChina. She lived for three months withAboriginal artists in Australia, studying how the tribal culture's "dreamtime"fueled the images in their paintings.

A Fulbright scholar,Gaines served several times as visiting professor at the University of Oxfordin England and regularly taught at the University of Bologna in Italy. Afterretirement, she averaged three adventure trips a year, exploring such remoteplaces as Antarctica and the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.

"Rosslyn was an intriguing andcomplicated woman whose research interests often transcended the academicmainstream," said Dr. Irene Goldenberg, UCLA's director of psychologicalservices when Gaines joined the university. "We will remember her style andpanache, as well as her experimental boldness in exploring the world."

In 1988, Gainesexpanded her early interest in human creativity by launching and co-leading adream group for nearly 200 Los Angeles artists. Called The Muse Group, theorganization has met weekly ever since.

"Rosslyn inspiredand tremendously helped the creative work of these visual, verbal andperforming artists," said the group's co-founder Dr. Douglass Price-Williams,UCLA professor emeritus of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences.

In a 1991 essay,Gaines wrote that her research interests never focused "on one continuoustheme — my studies taught me the pleasures of being fractionated."

A consulting editorto numerous academic journals, she published dozens of research papers andchapters on the development of perceptual processes, creativity and dreamimagery.

Gaines graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University in1948, and earned her masters degree and doctorate in psychology from theUniversity of Chicago in 1961 and 1963.

She is survived byher son, John Gaines, of Kinnelon, NJ; her daughter, Katherine Eliel, ofPasadena, Calif.; and two grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers,the family requests donations to the Rosslyn and Katherine Gaines Loan Fund forHearing-Impaired Students, in care of the Jewish Free Loan Association, 6505Wilshire Blvd., Suite 715, Los Angeles, Calif., 90048.



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