History, Quantitative, & Theoretical


The Department of Psychology's History, Quantitative & Theoretical 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 are therefore the gate-keepers of the Psychology program, and the History, Quantitative & Theoretical area comprises the fundamental prerequisite courses for admission into all other areas and programs in the Department. More importantly, however, it should be noted that the History, Quantitative & Theoretical area has its own philosophy and research programs.

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 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 graduate program provides 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.