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Lee Salk, for more than three decades a prominent expert on family relationships and social upheaval, died May 2 in New York City of cancer. He was 65 years old.

Mr. Salk, a child psychologist, first gained national prominence in 1960 for his seminal research showing that the sound of a mother's heartbeat has a calming effect on her newborn baby.

Throughout his career, he dispensed advice on child-rearing, drug abuse, divorce, working mothers, and other topics relating to the family. He gave frequent lectures, made public appearances, and for 20 years wrote a monthly column for McCall's magazine.

Mr. Salk consistently urged parents to form close, loving relationships with their children, and insisted that they could not "spoil'' a child.

At the time of his death, Mr. Salk was a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cornell University Medical Center, attending psychologist at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, consulting psychologist in the pediatrics department at Lenox Hill Hospital, and an adjunct professor of child development at Brown University.

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