Canadian Psychology: WWII & Beyond

World War II and the Founding of Canadian psychology

June 1938 - Ottawa: Several Canadian psychologists met in anticipation of another war, recognizing a "need for a unified and coherent voice"

September 1938 - Munich Pact for "peace in our times"

April 1939 - Founding of CPA: First meeting in Toronto

Promoted psychology as both a "pure" science and an "applied" profession

Social Responsibility is central to the CPA charter



Edward Alexander "Ned" Bott (1887-1974): Toronto

WWI - Mechanotherapy: Veteran rehabilitation

Energetic organizer, an applied experimentalist with a PhD. in Greek Philosophy

Developed Visual Link Flyer: Machine to test flying skill


Roy B. Liddy (1886-1961): Western

Philosophy, psychology, theology Chair of War Committee: Raised $'s for research


George Humphrey (1889-1966): Queens (Oxford in 1947)

"Reflective sophisticated scholar with experimental aspirations"

1940 Thinking: Association, Gestalt, Information processing


Nelson W. Morton (1910-1976): McGill

Instrumental in "M" test development

1944 - Replaced J.W. Howard in D.P.S.R.

Held long career on Defense Research Board


John M. MacEachern: Alberta

 Chair of Philosophy 1909-1945

Chair of Alberta Eugenics Board 1928-1965



1940 - The Bulletin of the Canadian Psychological Association

Donald Hebb first editor until 1942

1946 - Canadian Journal of Psychology

 Canadian Psychologist
Canadian Review of Psychology
Canadian Psychology

Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science  
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

1939 - Test Construction Committee & The War Committee

N.W. Morton and Chester Kellogg played central roles
in the development of the "M" test

  "M" test (revised Beta examination) was used for the selection and classification of Armed forces personnel

Eight sub-scales: 4 non-verbal, 2 mechanical, & 2 verbal

Verbal-sentence completion, arithmetical problems, vocabulary & analogy test


Roy B. Liddy, Edward A.Bott, C. Roger Myers, William Line, Noel Mailloux, Donald O. Hebb, Lionel Penrose, George Fergusson, R.W.B. Jackson, Mary J. Wright, ...


1941 - Camp Borden for first testing of "M"

Bott went to England with Major General McNaughton


Brock Chisholm Lewin Book created Directorate of Personnel Selection and Research

S.N.F. Chant (later of U.B.C.): Statistics
Edro Signori (later of U.B.C.): Interpretive Psychology
D.Carl Williams (U. of T.): Participant-Observer

C. Roger Myers: Chair at Toronto
Strongly served interests of psychology in Canada and CPA

William Line (U. of T.): WWI British Army and later
wished to Change Army in "humane" direction

Noel Mailloux (Montreal): Created department as
"founding father" of psychology in French Canada

Lionel Penrose (Western): Developed the Raven Matrix
test which was used by the British War Selection Boards.

Returned to London: Galton Chair of Genetics

George Fergusson: 1940 PhD. on the theory and
methodology of test construction and validation

1945 - Revised "M" test and RCMP selection test

R.W.B. Jackson: Had a "modern calculating machine"
with wheels and gears that could perform square roots


Directorate of Special Services
J.S.A. Bois
E.C. Webster


War Information Board: Public opinion in all aspects
J.D. Ketchum of U. of T.
J.A. Irving of U.B.C.

W.E. Blatz: Director of the Institute of Child Studies

Wartime Nurseries in Toronto & abroad

1943 - Garrison Lane Nursery Training: Mary J. Wright & seven other women went to the "Slums of Birmingham" to teach and free-up British women for industrial work

Mary Salter (Ainsworth) worked under Blatz, later with John Bowlby and developed attachment theory.

Blatz later was the psychologist for the Dionne Quintupletes.

   Rations and the war effort


Post-War Boom and "the Frustrating Fifties"

1945-46 Return of thousands of veterans to universities

Federal Grants for education: Need more faculty members
Need for career and personal counseling: Clinicians

Industry was booming along with babies: Progress and success


1950 - Canadian Board of Examiners in Professional psychology

1867 B.N.A. act licensing is a provincial affair


1954 - International Congress of Psychology at Montreal

McCarran Act in U.S.A. prevented all
"known communists" from setting foot on American soil

Keynote Addresses: Wilder Penfield, Jean Piaget,
Frederick Bartlett, E.C. Tolman, & E.A. Bott

  Contributions from the Soviets

1955 - MacLeod Report on Canadian Universities for C.S.S.R.C.

Warned against a danger of "becoming a profession
before we had become a science"

Lack of space & funding and inadequate laboratories


1960 - Opinicon Conference: Chaffey Locks near Kingston

"Granting agencies had imposed strict conditions regarding
the agenda" to be "on the teaching of psychology as a
science and the development of research training"

Canadian adoption of the "Boulder Model"


1965 - Lake Couchiching Conference

Some young members objected to the Opinicon agenda, leading to the recognition of issues related to psychology as a profession and to the training for community service and social responsibility


1975 - Tremendous growth: CPA's 42% increase to 1985

Introduction of "Divisions" or special interest groups

Task Force on the Status of Women in the Canadian Psychological Association:  
Mary J. Wright, Barbara Wand, Elinor Ames, Sandra Pyke, Cannie Stark-Adamec

1976 - Interest Group on Women and Psychology

1980 - Section on Women and Psychology (SWAP)


1984 - Opinicon II Conference: Identity Crisis

To produce norms and guidelines, lobbying granting agencies and increase public awareness

Concerned about research, training & service delivery for both scientists and scientist/practitioners

1986 - Code of Ethics adopted


1987 - Awards for distinguished Contributions to Canadian Psychology as a Science

  1989 - "Sections" replaced "divisions" (now 34)

  Canadian Universities

 Readings on the History of Psychology in Canada

Early Philosopher/Psychologists

Tolman C.W. (1996). Opposition to the Ideal System as Leitmotif in Nineteenth Century Anglo-Canadian Psychology. Canadian Psychology, (37), 137-144.

Tolman, C. (1999). Introduction to Symposium on The philosophical origins of psychology in Canada. History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin, 11 (1), 3.

Kenwood, C. (1999). The Anti-Sceptical psychology of George Paxton Young. History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin, 11 (1), 4-10.

Hagman, M. (1999). John Clark Murray on the emancipation of women: A comparison with John Stuart Mill. History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin, 11 (1), 11-16.

Jung, K. (1999). John Watson on Authority and Truth: Psychology as a moral Science. History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin, 11 (1), 17-21.

CPA and beyond

Wright, M.J. & C.R. Myers (1982). History of academic psychology in Canada. Toronto: Hogarth.

Wright, M. J. (1992a). Women Ground breakers in Canadian Psychology: World war II and its aftermath. Canadian Psychology, 33, 4, 675-682.

Wright, M. J. (1992b). The golden anniversary symposium: CPA's first 50 years. Canadian Psychology, 33, 4, 695-696.

Ferguson, G. A. (1992). Psychology in Canada 1939-1945. Canadian Psychology, 33, 4, 697-705.

Williams, D. C. (1992). The frustrating fifties. Canadian Psychology, 33, 4, 705-709.

Belanger, D. (1992). The structuring of Canadian psychology: Honni soit qui mal y pense! Canadian Psychology, 33, 4, 710-712.

Pyke, S. W. (1992). The more things change . . . . Canadian Psychology, 33, 4, 713-722.