Prof. Ariel Knafo-Noam


Phone:  972-2-5883426

Fax:  972-2-5881466



Office Location:  Social sciences building, 3501


Research Topics: Development of pro-social behavior and empathy in the context of genetics and the family environment, the interaction between parenting and temperament, and the development of values in the contexts of culture and the family



Current courses: Values Development; Field work: Social development; A View to Psychology Sciences: Social Development

Former courses: Social Psychology; Personality: Development, change, nature & nurture; Values in adolescence; The development of prosocial behavior, empathy and altruism; Research seminar: Social development B; Advanced studies in social development & developmental psychology






Ariel Knafo is a professor of developmental social psychology in the Psychology Department at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. One of his main lines of research concerns the development of personality and particularly altruism, empathy and other aspects of pro-sociality. For that matter, he studies the genetic, environmental and combined contributions to empathy and pro-social behavior, using questionnaire, experimental and observational designs.

He is interested in all potential influences on individual differences in social behavior and values. He investigates how values develop across contexts, cultures, and families. Another line of research studies concerns parent-child as well as child-parent influences, and in particular how children's genetics affect their own temperament and how parents react to them. The complex pattern of parent-child and genetic-environmental reciprocal or circular influences is studied with a twin study as well as with a study following families from pregnancy to children’s age 3. His aim is to combine behavior genetics and social-personality psychology approaches, with a developmental perspective to provide a comprehensive view of child and adolescent development and behavior.


Curriculum Vitae


Representative work:


Knafo, A., Zahn-Waxler, C., Van Hulle, C., Robinson, J., & Rhee, S. H. (2008). The developmental origins of a disposition towards empathy: Genetic and environmental contributions. Emotion, 8, 737-752.

Twito, L., & Knafo-Noam, A.* (2020). Beyond culture and the family: evidence from twin studies on the genetic and environmental contribution to values. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 112, 135-143. 


Knafo, A., & Jaffee, S. (2013). Gene-environment correlations in developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 25. IF=3.65 (8/70, DP), citations: 51. 

Knafo, A., & Spinath, F. M. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on girls' and boys' gender-typed and gender-neutral values, Developmental Psychology, 47, 726-731. IF=3.23 (17/70, DP), citations: 78. The first study demonstrating the role of genetics in children’s values.


Daniel, E., Schiefer, D., Möllering, A., Benish-Weisman, M., Boehnke, K., & Knafo, A.* (2012). Value differentiation in adolescence: The role of age and cultural complexity. Child Development, 83, 322–336. 

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