|Emeritus Professor of Psychology
For the first eighteen years of my professorship at NYU, I specialized in teaching and research on personality, with an emphasis on the empirical testing of psychoanalytic concepts. Affiliated primarily with the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, I spent a brief period of time with the Social and Personality Program.
Beginning early in the 1970s, I switched the focus of my academic interests to the connection between love and sexuality. Sharing this interest with me, my wife, Suzanne, and I began collaborating in research on this subject. In 1980, I proposed a course on Human Sexual Love to be co-taught with my wife, permitting us to extend our collaboration; and she was appointed Lecturer on Psychology. Subsequently, we initiated and co-taught a second undergraduate course, The Psychology of Marriage, which is still offered by the department.
As a retiree, I have continued to collaborate with my wife in research and writing. Motivated by our own experiences, we did research on lovers who do creative work together. Coining the phrase intimate creativity to designate this process, we conducted the first psychological study of partners in love and visual art who identify themselves as a professional team. Our results clarify the specific ways in which a couple’s involvement as lovers affects their joint creativity, and, simultaneously, how their creative collaboration influences the quality of their relationship.
1951: Ph.D., University of Michigan
Positions Prior to NYU1960-1962: Professor of Psychology and Social Work and Director of the Research Center,
School of Applied Social Sciences, Western Reserve University
1955-1960: Assistant Professor of Psychology, Yale University
1951-1954: Mental Hygienist and Senior Psychologist, Student Health Service, University of Michigan
2001: Listing in Who's Who in America
Sarnoff I. & Sarnoff, S. Intimate Creativity: Partners in Love and
Art. The University of Wisconsin Press, in press, 2002.
Sarnoff, I. Society With Tears. New York: Citadel, 1966.