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In Remembrance


Dr. Doreen Kimura 1933-2013

Doreen Kimura was an eminent neuroscientist and one of the founders and main pillars of the field of neuropsychology in Canada. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba she grew up in Neudorf, Saskatchewan. At the age of 17 she taught school in a one-room rural schoolhouse near Dubuc Saskatchewan and again at 19 in a one-room school near Cowan, Manitoba.

In 1953 Doreen responded to an ad in the Manitoba Teacher's magazine and won an entrance scholarship to McGill University, where she completed Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees, obtaining a PhD in physiological psychology in 1961. During her PhD work, Doreen studied neurological patients at the Montreal Neurological Institute under the supervision of Brenda Milner, co-supervised by Donald O. Hebb, two of Canada’s most distinguished behavioral scientists. In the early 1960s, Doreen was a postdoctoral Geigy Fellow at the Neurochirurgische Klinik, Kantonsspital, in Zurich Switzerland, where she set up the Human Brain Function Laboratory, and a postdoctoral researcher in brain and behavior at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

After returning to Canada, Doreen was briefly a research associate at the newly constituted McMaster medical school in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1967 she was offered a professorship at the University of Western Ontario and remained at Western for the next 31 years as a professor in the Department of Psychology and, following its inception in 1991, as a member of Western's interdisciplinary program in Neuroscience. After retiring from Western in 1998 she held a visiting professorship at Simon Fraser University.

Doreen Kimura had an exemplary research career. She was internationally known for her research into the biological bases of human cognitive abilities such as language, complex motor function, and spatial abilities, as well as how these come to differ across individuals. Her first major discovery, while still at McGill, was the demonstration that a simple auditory technique, dichotic listening, could yield insights into the different specializations of the left and right hemispheres of the human brain. Her report of this finding has been cited nearly 1000 times by other researchers around the world, and helped to open up a new era of research into left-right differences in the brain, which could now be studied non-invasively using the new technique and related techniques that followed.

Doreen was also known, among other things, for her view, still controversial today, that aphasias and apraxias (complex disturbances in speech and learned hand-and-arm movements that are common symptoms in patients with brain damage) may represent an impairment in high-level movement programming and not a deficit in the semantic or symbolic aspects of language and gesture. Even more radically, she proposed that the left side of the brain may be specifically adapted for this type of motor control, explaining why the control of speech is typically mediated by the left hemisphere. Her ideas on language and its evolution were outlined in her book, Neuromotor Mechanisms in Human Communication (Oxford Press, 1993).

While studying aphasias she observed there sometimes were differences between men and women in the effects of damage to different parts of the brain. For example, lesions to posterior portions of the left hemisphere are more likely to result in aphasias in men than women. Such observations led Doreen to the view that men's and women's brains may be structurally organized somewhat differently, a radical view in the feminist climate of the late twentieth century. In the later years of her career, Doreen was a spokesperson for the view that sex differences might exist, and had a right to be studied by researchers, despite the controversy that surrounds differences between the sexes. Her views on sex differences in brain organization and sex differences more generally were described in her book, Sex and Cognition (MIT Press, 1999).

Doreen's contributions were not limited to the research domain. She established the Neuropsychology Unit at London’s University Hospital (now London Health Sciences Centre) in 1974, where she personally oversaw the neuropsychological assessment of nearly 3000 patients with brain injuries of various types. This unit was one of the first hospital-based neuropsychology services in Canada. She also had a significant influence in the development of the department of psychology at Western, e.g., establishing the department's graduate program in neuropsychology. Three of her former graduate students went on to serve as the directors or co-directors of the Clinical Neuropsychology training programs at their universities, which represents nearly half the neuropsychology graduate programs in Canada. Doreen's contributions to applied training in Canada, both directly and indirectly, were therefore very far-reaching.

Doreen Kimura was a passionate advocate and defender of academic freedom and standards. She was founding president of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, an organization that began in 1992 and is still a vibrant defender of academic freedom in Canada.
Doreen was the recipient of many honors and awards including: member of the Royal Society of Canada; the Hebb Award from the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science; award for Distinguished Contributions to Canadian Psychology as a Science from the Canadian Psychological Association; the John Dewan Award of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation; the Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy from Simon Fraser University; the Kistler Medal and a $100,000 prize from the Foundation for the Future; and honorary degrees from Queen's and Simon Fraser universities.

A forceful and colorful personality with strongly held opinions, Doreen Kimura was a formidable proponent of her causes, known affectionately even by friends as "The Dragon Lady”. Doreen’s many achievements were all the more remarkable when one considers she lived with daily chronic pain for several decades, which she bore stoically. Doreen delighted in becoming a grandmother for the first time at age 78 and enjoyed many wonderful hours with Ella that brightened her last year of failing health. She died peacefully on February 27, 2013 at age 80 in Vancouver.
Doreen is survived by her daughter Charlotte Thistle Archer (formerly Vanderwolf), granddaughter Ella Archer, and by her sisters Shelagh Derouin and Amber Harvey. She will be dearly missed by her family and many good friends.

Dr. Philippe Rushton

John Philippe (“Phil”) Rushton, age 68, passed away on October 2, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer, characteristically publishing papers even during his illness. Phil was born in Bournemouth, England but lived his early years and took his early education in several countries including Canada. Returning to England in the 1960s, he earned a B.Sc. in psychology from the University of London in 1970 and a Ph.D. (1973) from the London School of Economics. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Oxford, Phil returned to Canada, teaching at York University (1974-1976) and the University of Toronto until 1977, in which year he accepted an appointment in the Psychology Department at the University of Western Ontario where he remained until his death. He was promoted to full professor in 1985. Phil published more than 200 articles, six books, including a co-authored introductory psychology textbook and was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1988).

Phil’s early work followed from his PhD dissertation on altruism in children, resulting in highly cited papers based on social learning theory, and a well-received book, “Altruism, socialization and society (1980)”. Phil had wide interests centered on the understanding of individual differences. In addition to his research on altruism, he worked on personality traits, such as those expressed by professors in the classroom and by community health volunteers, he published on scientific excellence and on mainline methodological issues, such as data aggregation.

However, Phil’s career to a large extent was defined by work that first hit the news in 1989, in a paper he gave to a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. By this time, Phil had started to consider biological explanations for altruistic behaviors, such as genetic similarity theory and arguments popularized by E.O. Wilson’s 1975 book on Sociobiology. In his AAAS talk and subsequently, Phil argued that racial groups systematically differed on a set of personality and intellectual characteristics and he claimed that these differences were genetically based. These ideas were immediately criticized and led to a firestorm of opposition both across Canada and worldwide. Phil persevered always in defending and elaborating on those controversial ideas, including in his 1995 book, “Race, Evolution, and Behavior”. He was to the end willing to engage his critics, often by looking for additional supportive evidence of his theory.

It is not the place in an obituary to debate the logic, methodology or data Phil presented. That is the place and domain of the scientific community. What did become clear in 1989 and beyond was that the discussion of race from a biological perspective in which some groups were ranked lower on intellectual and moral dimensions was repugnant to many and would not be constrained nor contained in scholarly journals or debates.

Phil's ideas posed a challenge to the basic tenets of academic freedom and led to debate at Western and beyond. Community groups, politicians (including the then-Premier of Ontario, David Peterson), and students who perceived the work as scientific racism voiced their opposition, often calling for his dismissal from the university. The Ontario Provincial Police conducted an investigation to see if there were grounds for charges (there were not), and 19 individuals initiated human rights violation cases with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (but after years of stress for Phil, these cases were considered abandoned when the complainants failed to respond). There were demonstrations that disrupted Phil’s classes, and vandalized parts of the psychology department. Distressingly, many interested parties, even faculty members themselves, seemed oblivious to the essential role that academic freedom plays in the life of scholarly work in general. As noted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, academic freedom is the “right to teach, learn, study and publish free of orthodoxy or threat of reprisal and discrimination”, calling it “the life blood of the modern university”. Ultimately, in defiance of the barrage of criticism that Western was facing- and showcasing the university at its best- the President of the University of Western Ontario (George Pederson) came out with a strong statement in defense of the precedence of upholding the concept of academic freedom. Although these events led to his isolation and reclusiveness within the Western professoriate, Phil Rushton remained at Western, continued to submit his papers to peer-reviewed journals and allowed his ideas to face the crucible of the scientific community.

J. Philippe Rushton is survived by his children Stephen and Katherine, granddaughters Jasmine and Aundreia and great-granddaughter Paige. Also survived by his brother Peter. Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Phil are asked to consider the London Regional Cancer Program - Research.

A link to Dr. Rushton's research can be found here.

Dr. Richard Allan Harshman

Richard was committed to the passionate pursuit of knowledge. Richard has been a valued member of this department since 1976 and rose through the ranks over the years, becoming a Full Professor. Richard was truly a renaissance man with interests that ranged from the effects of marijuana on cognitive abilities to analysis of individual differences in cerebral organization to the developments of three-player chess. He is, of course, most identified with creative and important developments in statistical analysis. An entry for him in Wikipedia notes that he was one of the pioneers in latent semantic analysis. He made two extremely important contributions to psychometrics, dealing first with the analysis of asymmetric square tables and second, in the analysis multiway tables. His work on PARAFAC is used in biomedical applications, chemometrics and wireless communications. One external reviewer of his work noted that “ He is one of the most influential quantitative methodologists in the past 30 years….he is a fundamental thinker, not distracted by appearances of currently fashionable approaches. He is always walking a few steps ahead of most of us”. Another noted: "His work is well known..his presence and influence looms large and he basically single handedly started the complex discussions about uniqeness several years prior to receiving his PhD."

We, and the scientific community, not only have lost a major contributor to theory, we have also lost a truly gentle man- a man playful with ideas, kind-hearted and generous. The world is diminished with his passing.

Dr. Richard Allan Harshman is survived by his wife Elizabeth Hampson and was the cherished son of Allan and Louise Harshman and son-in-law of John and Margaret Hampson. Richard was also the dear brother of Susan (Greg) Liddle and dear brother-in-law of Cheryl (Ken) Haddrell, Crystal and Mark. He leaves behind many valued friends and colleagues at U.W.O.

A link to Richard's research is provided here.

A graduate scholorship has been set up in in memory of Dr. Harshman. Donations will be gratefully accepted for the

Richard A. Harshman Graduate Scholarship
c/o Foundation Western
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario, Canada
N6A 3K7
or by calling 519-661-3140.

Dr. Keith Humphrey

On the morning of Tuesday, October 12, 2004 Keith Humphrey, Professor of Psychology and one of Canada’s best-known vision scientists, passed away after a long illness. Keith made important empirical and theoretical contributions to many areas of perception, from visual development in infants to the neural substrates of high-order vision.

He is perhaps best known for his work on visual aftereffects and the influence of viewpoint on object recognition. Keith's work on all these problems was characterized by creative and elegant experimentation.

Few of his colleagues at Western, however, knew about Keith's musical talents, but those of us lucky enough to be there when he got out one of his treasured guitars were treated to guitar playing that was remarkably fluent and soulful. During his band-playing days, Keith pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, where he majored in Psychology and Philosophy.

The University experience had transformed him. Although music was still important, scholarship and science became Keith's primary passion. In 1972, Keith left New Brunswick and headed west to the University of British Columbia where he took up graduate work in Psychology. Keith completed his Ph.D. under the supervision of Richard Tees, studying how the integration of auditory and visual information develops in young infants. As a postdoctoral fellow working with Peter Dodwell and Darwin Muir at Queen's University, Keith met his wife Diane, who was finishing her Ph.D. He persuaded her (among other things) to work together with him in Peter and Darwin's baby lab.

Soon after, Keith took up a post as assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Lethbridge. Their son, Jonah, was born shortly after they arrived. When Jonah was a young boy, Keith so much wanted to be involved in everything that his son did that he volunteered to coach the soccer team that Jonah played in.

Keith gave up a tenured position at Lethbridge to take a job as a sessional lecturer in the Department of Family and Commercial Studies in the University of Guelph. But then, in 1986, he landed a job as assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Western. His reputation preceded him. The Lethbridge folks were still talking about this great prof who knew everything there was to know about visual perception, was a terrific teacher, had a great sense of humour, and, if that wasn't enough, played a mean blues guitar. Western had the good fortune to have Keith as a member of faculty for nearly twenty years. Keith's knowledge of perception – and cognitive psychology in general – was legendary.

Keith was a founding member of the Group on Action and Perception (GAP), a research team funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health. Indeed, his skills in psychophysics and high-level vision were an invaluable part of GAP's research effort. It was Keith who came up with the research question that drove GAP's initial foray into functional brain imaging – and the publication that came out of that first experiment marked the beginning of the great adventure in cognitive neuroscience that continues to this day at Western.

Keith was an inspiring teacher. The students loved the lecture – largely because of Keith's endearing and slightly eccentric display. Keith's enthusiasm was infectious – and he turned many bright young students towards a career in research.

*Excerpts from a Western News article written written by Mel Goodale a psychology professor, colleague and lifelong friend of Keith Humphrey.

Dr. Nancy

Prof. Nancy Innis, Department of Psychology, passed away at the age of 63 on August 17 while traveling in Tibet with a colleague.

Nancy, a faculty member at Western for 30 years, received her BA and MA from the University of Toronto and PhD from Duke University.

After two years at Dalhousie University, Nancy came to Western where her research included the history of psychology, focusing on early theories of animal learning and cognition.

Nancy was a former historian of the International Society for Comparative Psychology, editor of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship newsletter, consulting editor for the American Psychological Association Journals and editorial board member for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Journals.

In remembrance of Nancy, a tree was planted on campus and a fund established to support a yearly prize to be awarded to the student who writes the best essay in Nancy's "history of psychology" course.

Donations towards this award can be sent to:

Room 270, Stevenson-Lawson Building
The University of Western Ontario
London, ON
N6A 5B8

*With excerpts from Western News Article by Communcations Staff Aug. 24, 2004.

Dr. Douglas Jackson

A long-time Western Professor of Psychology Douglas N. Jackson passed away in his home at the age of 75. He was born on August 14, 1929, in Merrick, New York. He completed his undergraduate work at Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations, and his Ph.D. at Purdue University in clinical psychology. A world authority in the area of Human Assessment, he held faculty appointments at the Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, The University of Iowa, and for over 32 years at the University of Western Ontario, where he founded and directed the Research Unit on Work and Productivity.

Dr. Jackson devoted much of his life to the research and development of psychological tests in personality, psychopathology, intellectual abilities, and vocational interests. In addition to authoring over 20 widely used tests and questionnaires, he published roughly 250 articles in scholarly journals, several dozen book chapters, and co-edited two books. He also served on the editorial boards of approximately 23 psychological journals.

His theoretical bases and methods for developing psychological tests have been influential in setting the standard for psychological tests in the latter half of the 20th century. The Personality Research Form authored by Jackson has been acknowledged as one of the three most widely cited personality questionnaires in the psychological research literature.

His work has many applications, for example, the Jackson Vocational Interest Survey ( has influenced the career planning of nearly a million people, while his cognitive ability measure, the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery (MAB) has been used by NASA in the selection of astronauts. Several of his assessments have important applications for employee selection, and for the leadership development of managers and executives. The companies he founded, Research Psychologists Press, Inc. (Canada) and Sigma Assessment Systems, Inc. (U.S.A.) distribute these instruments to universities and businesses throughout the world.

Douglas Jackson’s memory can be honored by making a contribution to the University of Western Ontario

Douglas N. Jackson Scholarship Fund

Room 270 Stevenson-Lawson Building
London Ontario, Canada
N6A 5B8

*Taken from Western Alumni Gazette 2007.