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.