This article is reprinted from Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).
John G. Adair
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
This article provides an overview of the historical events, significant personalities, and contextual influences that have shaped the development of social psychology in Canada. For much of its history, Canada and its closest neighbour, the US, have shared similar social problems and, for a time, even research funding. Although the influence of the US has been imprinted on Canadian research and theory, Canadian social psychology has also developed its own discipline with a focus on culture and explicitly Canadian social issues that makes it distinct from that of the US. This account reveals how Canadian social psychology developed and where US influence has been felt. Emerging from its roots within philosophy, Canadian psychology began as a decidedly applied discipline; but following its widely acknowledged contributions to the Canadian war effort it was basic research that ultimately received the academic appointments and financial support. Social psychology was often invisible; to be found, if at all, only on the fringe of both these early developments. In the 1970s, the Canadian government's decision to fund social research, and a period of exceptional growth of higher education, contributed to the discipline's emergence. Substantial numbers of experimental social psychologists imported from the United States raised questions about the Canadian content of their teaching and research, but their perspective and numbers created the critical mass needed for advancement of our discipline. With the help of a partly government-imposed Canadianization of academia and a blending of these imported researchers with the culture-oriented researchers trained in Canada, social psychology evolved into the mature, distinctive discipline that exists in Canada today. Canada has a strong, self-sustaining national disicpline, that in accord with its size makes substantial contributions to the world of psychology and to the social psychology of North America. This developmental history describes how these accomplishments have been realized.
Cet article présente une vue d'ensemble sur les événements historiques, les personnalités significatives et les influences contextuelles qui ont façonné le développement de la psychologie sociale au Canada. Pour une grande partie de son histoire, le Canada et ses voisins proches, les États-Unis, ont partagé les mêmes problèmes sociaux et, pour un temps, les résultats de recherche. Quoique l'influence des États-Unis fût imprégnée dans la recherche et la théorie au Canada, la psychologie sociale canadienne a aussi développé sa propre discipline en mettant l'accent sur la culture et, explicitement, sur les enjeux sociaux canadiens, la distinguant ainsi de celle des États-Unis. Ce résumé révèle comment la psychologie sociale canadienne s'est développée et où l'influence états-unienne s'est fait sentir. Prenant racine à l'intérieur de la philosophie, la psychologie canadienne a débuté comme une discipline résolument appliquée. Mais suite aux contributions largement
reconnues de l'effort canadien dans la guerre, ce fut la recherche fondamentale qui a finalement créé plus de postes académiques et qui a reçu plus de soutien financier. La psychologie sociale était souvent invisible, à découvrir, mais encore, seulement en marge de ses développements initiaux. Dans les années 1970, la décision du gouvernement canadien de subventionner la recherche sociale ainsi que la période de développement exceptionnel de l'éducation de niveau supérieur ont contribué à l'émergence de la discipline. Le nombre substantiel de psychologues sociaux expérimentaux en provenance des États-Unis a soulevé des questions à propos du contenu canadien proposé dans leurs enseignements et dans leurs études. Toutefois, leur perspective et leur nombre a créé une masse critique nécessaire pour l'avancement de notre discipline. La tendance partiellement imposé par le gouvernement à rendre canadien le secteur académique et le mélange de chercheurs importés et de chercheurs formés au Canada orientés vers la culture, la psychologie sociale canadienne a évolué en tant que discipline mature et distincte. Le Canada possède une discipline nationale forte et auto-soutenante qui, en accord avec son importance, apporte des contributions substantielles au monde de la psychologie et de la psychologie sociale en Amérique du Nord. Cette histoire développementale décrit comment ces accomplissements ont été réalisés.
Este artículo proporciona un panorama de los sucesos históricos, personalidades importantes, e influencias contextuales que han dado forma al desarrollo de la psicología social en Canadá. Durante gran parte de su historia, Canadá y su vecino más cercano, los Estados Unidos, han compartido problemas sociales similares y, durante algún tiempo, aún el financiamiento de la investigación. A pesar de que la influencia de Estados Unidos ha quedado grabada en la investigación y teoría canadienses, la psicología social canadiense ha desarrollado también su propia disciplina con un enfoque en la cultura y explícitamente en la problemática social canadiense que la distingue de la estadounidense. Esta reseña revela como se desarrolló la psicología social canadiense y dónde se ha sentido la influencia de los Estados Unidos. Al surgir de sus raíces dentro de la filosofia, la psicología canadiense comenzó como una disciplina decisivamente aplicada, pero, a raíz de sus ampliamente reconocidas contribuciones al esfuerzo canadiense en la guerra, fue la investigación básica la que en última instancia recibió los nombramientos académicos y el apoyo financiero. La psicología social permaneció con frecuencia invisible, para encontrarse, si se encontraba del todo, al margen solamente de estos desarrollos iniciales. En los años setenta, la decisión del gobierno canadiense de financiar investigación social, y un periodo de crecimiento excepcional de la educación superior contribuyeron al surgimiento de la disciplina. Un número considerable de psicólogos sociales experimentales importados de los Estados Unidos se cuestionó sobre el contenido canadiense de su enseñanza e investigación, pero su perspectiva y números crearon la masa crítica necesaria para el avance de nuestra disciplina. Con la ayuda de la tendencia a lo canadiense de la academia parcialmente impuesta por el gobierno y la mezcla de estos investigadores importados con los investigadores orientados a la cultura formados en Canadá, la psicología social evolucionó hacia la disciplina madura y distintiva que existe hoy en Canadá. Canadá posee una disciplina nacional fuerte, auto sostenida que, de acuerdo con su tamaño contribuye considerablemente al mundo de la psicología y a la psicología social de América del Norte. Esta historia del desarrollo describe cómo se han realizado estos logros.
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Social psychology is influenced by the importance and type of social problems of the day, and consequently, the funding available to study these social influences and issues. For much of the history of Canadian social psychology, Canada and their closest neighbour, the US, have shared similar social problems and, at times, even funding. Due to this shared experience, Canadian and American disciplines have been so intertwined that it is a challenge to write about an indigenous or distinctive Canadian social psychology. In many ways, Canadian and US social psychologists contribute towards a shared scientific community devoted to discovering universals through rigorous experimental methods. Although the proximity and influence of the US has clearly been imprinted on Canadian research and theory, Canadian social psychology has also developed its own discipline distinct from that of the US. Its focus on culture and explicitly Canadian social issues has provided a rich and distinctive study of social psychology.
Indeed, these conditions for discipline development are so unique compared to those encountered elsewhere, that for this article I have attempted to write a developmental history of the discipline of social psychology in Canada, focusing on how Canadian social psychology has evolved as a partner in North American psychology. I have provided an overview of the historical events, significant personalities, and contextual influences that have shaped the development of social psychology in Canada from its beginnings nearly a century ago to the present. As I reconstruct the discipline's evolution and changing nature and describe the unique character of Canadian social psychology, this account will reveal where US influence has been felt, the issues it has raised, and the contributions it has made to the discipline in Canada. Canada has a strong, self-sustaining national discipline, and in accord with its size makes substantial contributions to the world of psychology and to the social psychology of North America. This developmental history describes how these accomplishments have been realized.
EARLY YEARS: WITHIN PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENTS (1910–1938)
Canadian psychology had its beginnings within philosophy with the appointment of James Mark Baldwin to the University of Toronto in 1889 (C. R. Myers, 1982). In most universities psychology rem
ained formally linked to departments of philosophy well into the 1940s and in some even into the 1950s. Within philosophy the early emphasis was on basic aspects of perception, sensation, thinking, and learning. Social psychology was occasionally included, but usually by only 1-hour lectures on the topic. By 1913 the first formal course in social psychology was taught at McGill University (Ferguson, 1982). Henry Wright introduced a social psychology course in Manitoba in 1923 (M. W. Wright, 1982), and soon it was offered in a number of universities throughout the country. However, its infrequent and limited mention in the histories of Canadian academic departments (M. J. Wright & Myers, 1982) is suggestive of social psychology's relatively lesser status within the emerging discipline.
Even in these early years, there was considerable US-Canadian competition and exchange over academic appointments. Baldwin remained in Toronto for only 4 years, leaving in 1893 to take up a position at Princeton. Application for his replacement came from E. B. Titchener of Cornell University. William McDougall, who at the time was in England, was highly regarded for his Social Psychology text, which had become required reading for most early social psychology courses. In 1909, McDougall and W. D. Tait were considered for appointment as director of the McGill Psychological Laboratories. The appointment was given to Tait (Ferguson, 1982). In 1915, the University of British Columbia approached McDougall, who by then had moved from University College (London) to Oxford University, with an offer to become head of a to-be-created department of philosophy and psychology (Mackay, 1982). After extensive negotiations, he declined. Within a few years he accepted the position as head of the department at Harvard University. The fact that he was considered for these appointments in Canada didn't indicate a change in the lesser status of social psychology, although it gives pause to wonder what might have been with a McDougall appointment; and with his appointment to a Canadian instead of an American university.
Another prominent social psychologist who was trained at McGill and subsequently appointed as professor of psychology at Columbia University was Otto Klineberg. Klineberg went on to a distinguished career as an early advocate of the role of culture in social psychology. He had obtained his bachelor's and medical degrees from McGill before moving on to Columbia University for his PhD (Ferguson, 1982). Not only does his career provide yet another example of the porous academic border between Canada and the US; his early education in Montreal suggests a hint of the roots from which the distinctive cultural flavour of Canadian social psychology was later to emerge. These roots were not limited to Quebec, but extended across all of Canada. At the University of British Columbia, Jack Irving, the philosophy-trained head of the department of philosophy and psychology, personally introduced and taught as early as 1940 an undergraduate course on the psychology of culture (Mackay, 1982).
As the 1930s drew to a close, psychology clearly had gained a place in universities, but aside from Toronto (1926) and McGill (1924), it was not an administratively independent discipline. Because of the absence of research training within philosophy departments, Canadian psychology evolved in an applied direction: mental health, community psychology, and the study of children and the family were its strengths. There was a strong desire to demonstrate the utility of the new discipline, and a public demand for what they hoped psychology could offer. Unlike other countries, where psychology was imported anew from the US, Canadian psychology had developed on its own and yet partly as an extension of US psychology. Twenty of the 40 Canadian academics identified in 1938, just prior to the establishment of the Canadian Psychological Association, had obtained their highest degree from a Canadian university, 11 from the US, 8 from the UK, and 1 from Germany. But the ties to the US were substantial. Most psychologists in Canada were members of the APA, which they had helped found, and the APA had held its 1931 annual meeting in Toronto (M. J. Wright, 1974, p. 113).
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY GOES TO WAR AND RETURNS (1939–1955)
Because it was clear that the US could not be counted on for quick entrance into the anticipated war (WWII) that was about to engulf Britain and thereby involve Canada, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) was formed in 1939 (M. J. Wright, 1974), for the express purpose of mobilizing and coordinating the participation of Canadian psychologists in war-related research and psychological services. Their wartime contributions were primarily through testing, personnel selection, and training research. The contributions of psychologists were so impressive that the Defence Research Board thought it useful to continue funding psychological research for more than a decade after the end of the war. Social psychologists had prominently contributed: A. S. Bois, soon to become an industrial psychologist, worked on troop morale; Jack Irving (1943) contributed to the understanding of rumour transmission, and J. D. Ketchum administered the research section of the newly created Wartime Information Bureau (M. J. Wright, 1974). Specialty identification as social, clinical, or applied psychologists was not as sharply defined as it is today, but the war and the return to peacetime changed much of that.
Buoyed by the success of these wartime collaborations, a peacetime CPA embarked on an effort to identify additional topics to which future joint research efforts might be applied (Bernhardt, 1947; Ketchum, 1947b; MacLeod, 1947). For social psychology, the need for concentrated research on the cultural diversity of Canada's population, and in particular on French-English relations, was noted. Although social psychology had achieved an identity and a place in the teaching curriculum, at the end of the war it was poorly developed compared to other fields within Canadian psychology (Ketchum, 1948). This was due in part to the ill-defined nature of the field: vague concepts, inadequate methods, and problems so large that they did not seem easily broken down into researchable topics. Students and faculty felt that social research was more difficult than laboratory study, and not sufficiently distinct from sociology or anthropology. Prospective students were discouraged and attracted to better-defined fields with more job prospects. These problems were not unique to Canadian social psychology, but were general discipline concerns as the boundaries (Good, 2000) and preferred methods (Danziger, 2000; McMartin & Winston, 2000; Stam, Radtke, & Lubek, 2000) for social psychological research were in the process of being defined.
A second problem was the ineffectiveness of graduate training, largely due to the absence of any significant social research by the faculty. Most were not empirically oriented, were frustrated by attempts to apply the behaviourist model to social phenomena, and spent much of their scholarly activity focused on this fundamental theoretical dilemma. Some, such as R. B. MacLeod (1947, 1955), head of the department at McGill, held the view that the expansion of research into social psychology left us with a field that was both conceptually and methodologically ill-equipped for the task, and that it would need a “fresh start” in what he felt should be a phenomenological approach. MacLeod pursued this approach more fully after he left Canada for Cornell University.
But this orientation appealed to leading Canadian social psychologists. Henry Wright, the founding head of the University of Manitoba psychology department, for example, emphasized the meaning of the stimulus for the person in contrast to regarding the stimulus simply as a physical event (H. W. Wright, 1950). J. D. “Dave” Ketchum, editor of the Canadian Journal of Psychology (1953–1958), saw social psychology torn by demands for explanations on the basis of needs and drives whereas a more cognitive, phenomenological explanation made greater sense (Ketchum, 1951). He argued that psychology was increasingly applied to real-life situations where mechanistic theories and approaches were less adequate. Ketchum's major scholarly contribution was a book detailing his personal observations of the social structure that emerged among prisoners who occupied a makeshift POW camp on a race track outside Berlin. Ketchum had been a student of music in Berlin when he was imprisoned at the outset of World War I. Ruhleben: A Prison Camp Society became his life's work (Ketchum, 1965), although he had to ask his good friend, R. B. “Robbie” MacLeod to see to its posthumous publication (C. R. Myers, 1982). Other research in this post-war period was more sociological in approach. J. A. (Jack) Irving's studies of the Social Credit movement (a Canadian political economic phenomenon), published in three articles in successive issues of the Canadian Journal of Psychology (Irving, 1947), was typical and the only project supported among the few submitted by psychologists for funding support from the newly formed Social Science Research Council of Canada (Ketchum, 1947a). Although essays and theoretical speculation dominated, there were a few isolated empirical studies employing sociometric choice ratings to study the social development of children or measures of attitudes (Thompson, 1945). Among 42 master's theses in 1948 (Canadian theses in psychology, 1948, 1949), for example, only 4 appeared by title to be social psychological, with three employing measurements of attitudes.
By 1950, psychology had generally become an independent discipline across the country. Social psychology was taught in all departments (Liddy, 1948), was popular with students, but uneven in its development across universities and generally had a lesser priority than the experimental side of the discipline. For example, at the University of Saskatchewan in the mid-1950s, classes in social psychology were always large compared to those in experimental psychology (McMurray, 1982), whereas social psychology never gained more than “a toe-hold” within the department at Dalhousie (Page & Clark, 1982). The only contribution by an author from a Canadian university to the two-volume 1954 Handbook of Social Psychology was a chapter on the social behaviour of animals, written by experimental psychologists (Hebb & Thompson, 1954). Nonetheless, social psychology was beginning to be seen in Canada as a distinct specialty.
TRANSITION YEARS: TOWARD AN EMPIRICAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (1955–1965)
The next decade (1955–1965) marked the beginnings of the expansion of higher education in Canada. Additional departments were formed, new universities created, and graduate degree programmes were developed across the country. This meant appointments of research-oriented faculty and increased levels of research activity. Wallace Lambert was appointed to McGill in 1954, Bill Carment to McMaster in 1957, and a gradual flow of appointees followed throughout the early 1960s: Bob Gardner at Western, Brendan Rule in Alberta, John Arrowood and Rolf Kroger in Toronto, Rudy Kalin at Queens, and myself at Manitoba.
The programmatic research of Wallace Lambert
Of all of these, it was Wallace Lambert who indisputably had the greatest impact on social psychology in Canada. McGill's early development had been characterized by a strong experimental emphasis, and Lambert was appointed in that tradition. Sometimes described as a psycholinguist (Ferguson, 1982), Lambert's research contributions and training of graduate students left a greater mark on social psychology than others from that era or since. Lambert's research, unlike previous work, addressed the agenda for social psychology that CPA and others had been setting. It was (a) empirical, (b) programmatic, (c) offered answers that could be applied to national needs, and (d) established the cultural tone that for many years distinctively characterized Canadian social psychology.
Lambert's (1992) address, on the occasion of his acceptance of the APA award for Contribution of Psychology to Society, vividly recalls the scientific journey, begun in the late 1950s, which he and his associates travelled for more than three decades. Their research documented the stereotypic views held about French-speaking Canadians, corrected and even reversed the view of the impact of bilingualism on intelligence, and demonstrated the importance of attitude and motivation in learning a second language. His studies on French immersion, i.e., teaching children from English-speaking homes exclusively in French during the early years of schooling, revealed that this process could produce fully bilingual children with gains to their cognitive and intellectual functioning and without impeding the development of their native language nor their academic progress. This became the model for French-language immersion classes throughout Canada.
Lambert's research began a Canadian tradition of social research with a focus on culture and language. Besides the research directly on language, much social psychological research in Canada today is devoted to ethnicity, prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, and racial and cultural identity. Such research might have evolved naturally out of Canada's multicultural society, but social psychology is indebted to Lambert for providing the leadership and model for empirical research that could include and focus on cultural variables. This tradition was established and has been pursued within his own department, by his many students, and in turn by their students. In short, no single person had a greater influence on the development of social psychology in Canada than Wallace Lambert, and his work marked the beginning of modern social psychology in Canada.
Social learning research of Richard Walters
In sharp contrast to Lambert's work, a second impressive Canadian research programme was launched about the same time. A completely different model for acultural, experimental social research was to be found in the work of Richard Walters, first at the University of Toronto and then later at the University of Waterloo. Although more a social-developmental psychologist, his prolific research provided numerous examples of what could be achieved by experimental manipulation of the conditions governing social behaviour. Walters had brought this perspective with him from work with his Canadian-born mentor, Albert Bandura. Bandura, who had completed his undergraduate training at the University of British Columbia, had just been appointed to Stanford following his PhD from Iowa. Although directed toward explicating and documenting a social learning theory of development, i.e., modelling the behaviours of others, Walters' focus was truly on universal experimental social research. The ingenuity and sheer volume of this work gave visibility and encouragement in Canada to this orientation.
There were others who empirically researched and published in social psychology during this period, but their articles were scattered, their research less programmatic, or they left Canada before their research programme was fully established. For example, Robert Sommer (1959) conducted his first studies on the concept of personal space at the Saskatchewan Hospital (Weyburn), but left Canada before conducting further research and writing on the topic.
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY COMES OF AGE IN CANADA (1965–1978)
In spite of the work of Lambert and Walters, Canadian social psychology in the mid-1960s was comparable to the discipline in other countries; it lacked development and was not yet self-sustaining. Few social psychologists completed their training in Canada and the number of active researchers was limited. Some still didn't even conduct research. There was limited government funding, with the work of a few researchers being supported over the summer months by grants from the Carnegie Corporation or Rockefeller Foundation. At the start of this period social psychology was still among the weakest fields in Canadian psychology (Appley & Rickwood, 1967).
Empirical social psychological research began to appear during the 1960s. In addition to Lambert's and Walters' research, Brendan Rule (Alberta) published several studies on attitude measurement and change and on conformity, John Arrowood (Toronto) and Norm Endler (York) on conformity and personality, and David Watson (Toronto) and Herbert Lefcourt (Waterloo) each published studies on locus of control. There were single publications by others, but the total for all of Canada was not great. Yet, several landmark events over the next several years were to lead the development of social psychology into a mature specialty with substantial research activity.
Funding of social psychological research
First was the decision of the Canadian government to fund research in the social sciences. The Canada Council, which had been established a decade earlier to fund the Arts, established in 1965 a modest programme of research grants for the humanities and social sciences. In the first year only two grants were awarded to psychologists: Wallace Lambert ($13,500) for a project on psycho-linguistics, and Kurt Danziger (York University; $23,600) for a study of socialization of immigrant children in the Toronto area. Two years later, with the help of a special parliamentary appropriation to mark the first direct federal funding of social research, the research grants programme budget in 1967 had risen to in excess of $2 million, and the number of social psychologists awarded grants also increased: Adair (Manitoba), Danziger (York), Gardner (Western), Papageorgis (UBC), Robson (UBC), and B. Rule (Alberta). Although this action was initiated following a US government decision to discontinue funding research outside their country, it did much to promote the advancement of social psychology in Canada. However, it was 1978 before the Canadian government formally created an independent national research granting agency for social research—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This was an important development for social psychology in Canada.
Publication of social psychological research
In 1969, the Canadian Psychological Association launched a new journal, the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science (CJBS) for the publication of research from the “soft” side of the discipline. Although designed to provide an outlet for applied research, CJBS soon became the journal in Canada for research in social psychology, particularly research that addressed Canadian issues. It grew slowly at first, but after several decades of publication has risen to a status on par with the renamed Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. Examination of articles published within CJBS reveals another distinctive feature of Canadian psychology: It is bilingual; of 123 articles published in CJBS in 2000-2003, 27.6% were in French.
The publication in 1978 of the first volume (on Social Cognition) in a series of books emanating from the Ontario Symposia on Personality and Social Psychology (Higgins, Herman, & Zanna, 1978) was another significant development for Canadian social psychology. Begun as a joint venture of experimental-social and personality psychologists from the universities of Waterloo, Western Ontario, and Toronto, each symposium has focused on a different topic. The ninth symposium volume was published in 2003. The symposia and the quality books that result have been instrumental in displaying to the world the high-quality research conducted in Canada and Canadian leadership within social psychology.
Expansion of higher education in Canada
There was a dramatic expansion of higher education in Canada in the mid-1960s. New universities were created, enrolments exploded, and the need for new faculty became acute. Based on a survey of Canadian psychology (Appley & Rickwood, 1967), it was concluded that it would be some time before Canada could become self-sufficient in producing the doctoral graduates necessary to meet the country's needs. Because higher education was expanding around the world, a modest brain drain exacerbated the problem and increased Canada's dependence on foreign hiring. As examples, two Canadian social psychologists with undergraduate training in Canada, Michael Bond and Philip Tetlock, completed their PhDs in the US and found employment elsewhere. The shortage of graduate training programmes, and the popularity of the subject, meant that social psychology was to recruit a disproportionate share of the immigrant professors.
Faculty were recruited mostly from the United States. The ambivalence toward the coming of so many Americans was addressed in the CPA presidential address of 1969 (M. J. Wright, 1969). Wright noted both positive and negative consequences of the wholesale immigration of foreign-trained faculty. On the positive side, she conceded it added strength to Canadian psychology—being able to recruit the best-trained and most-qualified psychologists in the world had resulted in the quality of Canadian social research quickly being brought on par with American research. And the strength of the new foreign faculty had a ripple effect—“shaking up” less publication-conscious Canadian scholars (Berlyne, 1968). Probably the greatest contribution had nothing to do with citizenship, but numbers. Canadian social psychology had suddenly acquired a critical mass; there were now sufficient numbers of researchers working within similar topic areas to enable the interaction and networking essential for the encouragement and stimulation of research advances.
The larger numbers also enabled organizational activities that helped to coalesce the discipline. Informal meetings of social psychologists began to be held at CPA annual meetings. My recollection is that these were initially organized by Brendan Rule from Alberta (after whom the award for the best graduate student paper in social psychology has been named) and myself, and soon evolved into more formal regular meetings with programme content. The Social Psychology Section of CPA that grew out of these meetings has given social psychologists more or less an intellectual and social home within Canadian psychology.
These imported scholars not only increased numbers, but brought a ready-made experimental social psychology that, with the exception of Walters' social developmental research and a few others, had been lacking. That they contributed a much-valued diversity to Canadian research was evident in the assessment of experimental social psychological research for the decade of the 1970s (Rule & Wells, 1981). Brendan Rule and Gary Wells observed that Canadian experimental social psychologists were researching attitudes, group processes, aggression, helping behaviour, impression formation, attribution, moral judgment, nonverbal behaviour, the criminal justice process, methodology, and discipline-related issues. They observed that there was little evidence of programmatic research nor any research on truly Canadian issues. This was not surprising because the reviewers had intentionally omitted ethnic studies, cross-cultural research, and research on bilingualism. Instead they found that the topics researched were guided by researchers' interests and basically reflected the same sort of topics pursued by US social psychologists. Because there were hundreds of studies published within these topics alone, it is difficult to report on research by individuals. But there were a few social psychologists whose research stood out. For example, Zanna's research applying dissonance theory to issues of attitude formation and change, Michael Ross's work on egocentric biases and the assignment of responsibility, Peter Suedfeld's work on restricted environmental stimulation and on attitudes, Dan Perlman's on loneliness, and Clive Seligman's on environmental psychology are examples. Other American-trained scholars who came to Canada during this period were Ken Dion at Toronto, Ted Hannah at Memorial, Richard Sorrentino at Western, Don Taylor at McGill, Ron Fisher at Saskatchewan, and Bob Altemeyer at Manitoba, although it would be difficult to identify returning Canadians from immigrating Americans.
On the negative side, M. J. Wright (1969) was concerned with the extent to which these immigrant psychologists would truly become part of and contribute to Canadian psychology. Because their true intellectual and professional ties would remain in the US, it was feared that they would only work in Canada and not participate in organized Canadian psychology. Although this has remained true for a few, the passage of time has proven this fear to be unfounded for most, with many imported psychologists becoming leading contributors to the discipline.
However, the sudden influx of large numbers of immigrant scholars posed other problems. The expansion of higher education in both countries thrust Canada into direct employment competition with the US. In an open market, their numbers overwhelmed the fewer Canadian-trained graduates, many of whom had difficulty finding employment. The implications for social psychology, in particular, were thought to be considerable. Rather than Canadians returning to their home country, these were for the most part truly alien or immigrant professors teaching subjects that some felt should, in part, reflect the Canadian culture. Instead, we had imported an acultural experimental social psychology taught with the same American examples they had been taught in graduate school. Canadian material and examples (Berry, 1974), were difficult to locate, even for those sensitive to the culture. As a result, a strong claim was voiced that the distinctive cultural focus of Canadian research was diluted, and undergraduate teaching did not reflect Canadian examples, issues, and values.
CANADIANIZATION OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (1978–1988)
The conditions in Canadian social psychology in the late 1970s were in many ways similar to those experienced by other countries undergoing discipline development following the importation of the discipline from the US. In developing countries, this process of ensuring that the imported discipline was appropriate to the country has been called indigenization. Proponents from some social science disciplines in Canada in the late 1970s referred to the need for a similar process they called Canadianization. In both instances the developing disciplines were attempting to balance internal aspirations of autochthonous discipline development against strong influences from another country (Adair, 1999). This view and the whole notion of the Canadianization of social psychology was not shared by Canadian colleagues who were trained in the US and who accepted the universalist explanation of human behaviour of experimental social psychology. Nonetheless there were real issues to address and the parallels with indigenization were there.
There were actually two issues: (1) faculty hiring, and (2) Canadian textbooks and teaching materials. The hiring crisis had not been anticipated in the Appley-Rickwood report (1967); nor had the fervour of the reaction and the speed of its inception. As it became apparent that we were hiring so many foreign faculty rather than our own graduates, there was an academic revolt. The response of Canadian psychology was muted compared to the outcry in Canadian sociology, history, political studies, and English departments. Within Canadian psychology, one of the more visible objections was registered against the University of Manitoba Department Chair (myself) in 1977 for hiring several better-qualified (but non-Canadian) faculty. Although it is unlikely that this single episode led to the imposition of a new Canadian immigration policy, it certainly contributed. I won't review in detail the events that followed. Ultimately the Canadian government adopted new policies that required universities to: (1) advertise all positions as directed to Canadian citizens; and (2) pursue a two-stage hiring process in which Canadians were to be given first chance at any position; foreign applicants could be considered only if Canadians had been interviewed and found lacking; then a second, and broader, search could be undertaken. The Canadian job market was thus protected for our doctoral graduates by government regulation. Some faculty quietly objected to a policy they felt made it difficult to employ the best applicant regardless of citizenship, but on balance the policy probably strengthened graduate training in Canada.
With graduates from Canadian social psychology programmes given a protected opportunity to compete for positions, much of the original flavour of social psychology in Canada was restored. For example, since 1980, graduates such as Richard Clement and Richard Lalonde from Western, James Olson, John Ellard, and Peter Grant from Waterloo, Barry Spinner from Manitoba, Rod Lindsay and Ted Wright from Alberta, Victoria Esses from Toronto, Beverly Fehr from UBC, and Robert Vallerand from Montreal, among many others who followed, have provided our universities with high-quality Canadian academics.
Canadian textbooks and teaching materials
The second concern was the content of Canadian teaching and textbooks. To address this problem, a one-man Commission on Canadian Studies headed by Thomas H. B. Symons was established to investigate Canadian studies throughout the country. His report (Symons, 1975), entitled To Know Ourselves, focused on the problem and its solution within each of the social sciences and humanities. Within psychology, the issue had been initially engaged but only partially addressed by Berry's (1974) cataloguing of Canadian materials for teaching.
Some social psychologists began to put together books of readings providing appropriate examples of Canadian issues and research (Berry & Wilde, 1972; Earn & Towson, 1986; Gardner & Kalin, 1981; Koulack & Perlman, 1973). Their content focused on what was uniquely Canadian in social research: bilingualism and second-language learning, multiculturalism, intergroup relations, and so on. In francophone Canada, the lack of exposure to Canadian research was compounded by the absence of textbooks in the French language. In a first attempt to correct this problem, Bégin and Joshi (1979) edited and published the writings of eight francophone social psychologists.
Typically these books of readings were used as supplements to the standard (probably American-authored) social psychology textbook. Two decades after the first calls for increased Canadian content, Canadian-authored textbooks of social psychology finally became available. A social psychology textbook (Alcock, Carment, & Sadava, 1988) featured Canadian examples, research by Canadian psychologists, and special chapters addressing Canadian issues. Robert Vallerand (1994) published an edited social psychology textbook for francophone psychologists. Another strategy employed by US publishers has been to contract with Canadian co-authors to introduce key revisions and substantially edit established American psychology textbooks into what could be called “Canadian editions.” Recently, two popular social psychology textbooks have been republished as Canadian editions (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, & Fehr, 2001; D. G. Myers & Spencer, 2001). Spencer is from the University of Waterloo; Fehr is from the University of Winnipeg.
This overview reveals slower progress in the development of Canadian teaching materials and textbooks in social psychology than those who first called for Canadianization of the discipline might have wished. This should have been expected. Volumes of research are necessary to distil the core knowledge that fills the pages of texts or lecture halls. In Canada, the number of social psychologists and the quality of their research increased greatly over the past three decades. That research has contributed much to the understanding of Canadian society, as well as to the universal understanding of social behaviour. That there is a distinctively “Canadian” social psychology to market commercially confirms the maturity and relevance of the discipline that we now teach.
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IN CANADA TODAY
Canadian social psychology has settled into an established mature discipline with a distinctive social-cultural programme in some departments (e.g., University of Alberta), international-quality experimental social psychology programmes in others (e.g., University of Waterloo), and sometimes the two coexisting within the same department (e.g., UBC). Within other Canadian departments, social psychology has been developed in distinctive ways. One notable trend has been the focus in a number of departments on applied social psychology: the universities of Saskatchewan, Windsor, and Memorial (Newfoundland). Occasionally the applied programme is broader than just social psychology, such as those at Carleton, Calgary, Guelph, Waterloo, and St. Mary's (Halifax), where industrial/organizational emphases have been created, sometimes within social psychology programmes.
In most social psychology programmes, the emphasis has continued to be on research and publication. The result is that Canadian social psychology has achieved levels of publication that are second in the world only to the United States within social psychology journals. The comparative data by country for the two social psychology journals of the American Psychological Association (APA) are reported in Table 1. Moreover, the percentage of the articles in these APA journals that have included Canadian authors has steadily risen over the decades (see Table 2). Indeed, nearly 10% of the articles currently are Canadian authored, about the same percentage as the Canadian population is compared to the US population, even though Canadian psychology had a much later start than American psychology.
Country affiliation of first authors of articles in APA journals (JPSP and PSPB) in social psychology, 2000–2003
||3 or <
Percentage of articles with authors with Canadian affiliations in JPSP and PSPB
|Year of publication
||% with Canadian authors
||% with Canadian authors
|aPSPB began publication in the 1970s.
The next generation of Canadian social psychologists is making their mark on the discipline. Just looking at publications in the two APA journals (JPSP and PSPB) for 2000–2003, there is a clear presence of Canadian authors. Most of these are Canadian-trained, e.g., Esses now at UWO (PhD: Toronto), Heine at UBC (PhD: UBC), and many having received their PhD from the University of Waterloo: Baldwin and Lydon (now at McGill), Voraurer (Manitoba), Fehr (Winnipeg), and Conway (Concordia). A few are Canadians who received their training from elsewhere, e.g., Tafarodi at Toronto (PhD: Texas).
IS THERE ANYTHING DISTINCTIVE ABOUT CANADIAN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY?
Research focused on cultural and cross-cultural topics has long been prominent in Canadian social psychology. One of the primary centres continues to be in Montreal. Following Lambert's tradition, Don Taylor has established at McGill University the Intergroup Relations and Aboriginal Peoples Laboratory, which is devoted to research on individual and collective identity and on prejudice, discrimination, and the plight of the more disadvantaged groups in Canadian society. Fran Aboud, also at McGill, has had a lengthy career researching the formation of ethnic identity, international health issues, and related topics. The Communication and Intergroup Relations Laboratory has been established under the leadership of Richard Bourhis at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM).
Recently, the University of Alberta has reshaped its social psychology programme into a social-cultural programme, and has several department members with that interest. At the University of Toronto, Ken and Karen Dion have researched the attractiveness stereotypes across cultures, and Ken has researched the Chinese-Canadian population in Toronto; Roman Tafarodi (Toronto) has recently published several studies on the self-concept across cultures. There are also a number of social psychologists at the University of British Columbia with cultural interests and publications, including Steve Heine, Darrin Lehman, and others.
Throughout the country there are individual social psychologists who have researched the native Indian culture (Corenblum: Brandon), indigenous psychologies among developing countries (Adair: Manitoba), and personality across culture (Paunonen: UWO). In addition to all of the above, John Berry, recently retired from Queen's University, has been noted for his work on the acculturation-assimilation process among immigrants and studies evaluating the multicularism policy within Canada, and he is one of the leading figures in international cross-cultural psychology. It is my judgment that if there is a distinctive element to Canadian social psychology it is its attention to culture. This distinctiveness has been fostered by our national policies of multiculturalism and bilingualism, by the rich multicultural mosaic in which we all live, and by the research tradition we inherited from Wallace Lambert.
Canadian social psychology is indeed fortunate. We have developed our own discipline, with many of the benefits of our North American geographical location. The discipline is mature and diverse. We have strong experimental social psychology faculty that are competitive with US social psychologists for publication space in their own journals. We have a distinctive cultural and cross-cultural social psychology emphasis that has made us world leaders within these areas. And we have trained a vigorous cadre of new investigators to ensure that the successes of the past will be continued. As one of those formerly immigrant professors, I am proud to be a Canadian social psychologist.
An abbreviated version of this article was first presented in a symposium (A. Paivio (Chair) Psychology in Canada) held at the International Congress of Psychology, Montreal, August, 1996.
The author's research in the preparation of this manuscript was supported by a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council Canada.
The author wishes to express his appreciation to Jessica Cameron, Kenneth L. Dion, Abraham Ross, Donald Sharpe, Peter Suedfeld, and Mary Wright for their comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this manuscript, and to Angela Coelho and Kristin Stevens for assistance in its preparation.
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