History, Quantitative, & Theoretical

Area Faculty

Mark Blair
Rachel Fouladi
Michael Maraun
Tim Racine -- incoming Department Chair in Sept 2023
Matthew Sigal
Kathleen Slaney -- current FASS Associate Dean Graduate Studies

Associate Faculty

George Alder -- retiring in 2023


The Department of Psychology's History, Quantitative & Theoretical area brings together faculty members with critical focus on the Theoretical and Methodological foundations of Psychology. The area represents one of the Canadian Psychological Association's sections (History and Philosophy of Psychology), and five of the American Psychological Association's divisions (Division 1, General Psychology; Division 3, Experimental Psychology; Division 5, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics; Division 24, Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology; and Division 26, History). It covers those aspects of Psychology that define it as a distinct discipline, since it is a common foundation in theory and methods that holds Forensic Psychology, Neuropsychology, Social Psychology, etc. in a single department. Without this common foundation such areas of specialized study could be absorbed by other departments, such as Criminology, Biological Sciences, and Sociology. The History, Quantitative & Theoretical faculty might therefore be considered the gate-keepers of the Psychology program offering fundamental prerequisite and required courses for admission and continuation in all areas and programs in the Department. Importantly, in addition to providing foundational training for students within the Department, it should be noted that the History, Quantitative & Theoretical area has its own philosophy and research programs. In addition to providing core curriculum, faculty also offer specialty courses in areas of expertise including data visualization, multivariate analysis including structural equation modeling, questionnaire design and critique, and special topics offerings in history and theory.  

The History, Quantitative & Theoretical area is founded on the belief that education in any discipline requires an understanding of certain fundamentals. In Psychology, these fundamentals consist of knowledge of the historical development of theories, methods, and ideas. In the words of Goethe "The history of science is science itself; the history of the individual, the individual." They also include the theory and ideas behind the methods.

It is the History, Quantitative & Theoretical area that ensures psychologists possess well-developed historical perspectives, are able to grasp sophisticated principles from the philosophy of science, and can, in a creative fashion, bring critical methodological strategies and quantitative techniques to bear on a problem.

Students may take undergraduate History, Quantitative & Theoretical courses from within several streams of concentration, and may apply for graduate studies with a History, Quantitative & Theoretical specialization. The Psychology graduate program in HQT provides M.A. and Ph.D. students with an environment in which they may become high level scholars, rather than merely well-trained researchers.

There is something of a trade-off between genuine understanding on the one hand, and memory and calculational powers on the other. ... As is very familiar to teachers at all levels ... it is the quality of understanding which is by far the more valuable. It is this quality, rather than the mere parroting of rules or information, that one wishes to encourage in one's pupils. (Penrose, 1994)

Penrose, R. (1994). Shadows of the mind: A search for the missing science of consciousness (pp. 398-399). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

For more detailed information click on individual faculty members in the list above.