Canadian Journal of Psychology:
A Review of the Cognitive and Neuropsychological Trends of Research Articles Published from 1989-1992

Badia Rebolledo, Monica Stroink, & Janet Tough
Department of Psychology
Simon Fraser University


The focus of this paper concentrates in the years 1989 to 1992. Research trends in psychology of this era focused on using biology and natural science as a means of investigating and understanding human behaviour. With the advancement of technology and instrumentation in experimental research, investigators were able to delve deeper into the fields that could not be studied before due to the lack of sophisticated equipment. The push towards establishing "artificial intelligence" meant that the introduction of a new metaphor into cognitive psychology. The biggest focus during this period was on sleep studies, visual perception, neural-psychology and the field of cognition.


One of the concentrations during this period was on sleep. There were 11 articles dedicated to this topic in one issue. Burgeoning information on sleep and sleep disorders found greater publicity due to its significance on the actions of human beings. Articles pertaining to research in sleep overlap into related fields of sleep disorders, memory, learning, performance, dreaming, medical disorders and circadian rhythms, in addition to the nature and function of sleep.

This focus on the physiological basis of sleep disorders and the related fields presently examined is reflected, throughout all of the issues of the journal, in the emphasis on a new era in psychology which made use of physiology to explain various aspects of human existence. There was an investigation into the organic basis of sleep disorders among Alzheimer's patients. This shows a move towards an integration of all observed phenomenon drawn from many different disciplines. It was mentioned that medical researchers and experimental psychology researchers have found areas in which their research converges. A movement away from maintaining the boundaries of psychology as just a study of mentalistic phenomenon and medicine as physiological phenomenon is a result of this convergence. Many studies were conducted throughout the volumes that reflect this change. Especially significant was the research into brain trauma, a branch of neurology and it's effect on human behaviour, which transformed this area of research into the realm of neural-psychology. This was especially apparent at the end of the era in which we reviewed this journal, and seems to have been the hot topic of the early 90s.

Visual studies encompass the four-year period that we reviewed, and permeate through each journal. This is especially prevalent in 1989 and even though it is not reported in the next couple of years, visual perception studies make a re-emergence in the middle of 1992. Most of these studies focus on research into visual perception in children and young animals. This may reflect an exhaustion of ideas and new areas to research in adult visual perception that preceded it. These studies ranged from longitudinal studies to cross-sectional studies.

A discussion of cognitive psychology prevails during this period of time in Canadian psychology. As mentioned before, the entry of computers in mainstream psychological research yielded many new studies that made use of the computer metaphor. In fact, throughout all of the journals there is a major emphasis on research into cognitive psychology. The dominant ideology of the time seems to be that if your research did not pertain somehow to either cognitive or neural-psychological study it would not be published. There is much discussion of memory during this era, especially in the year of 1990.

There is a major influx of neural-psychological studies into the journal in 1992. The most interesting facet of this research is the study of brain trauma and the resulting difficulties that victims had in behavioural adjustment. This is another reflection of behavioural scientists studying underlying causal factors behind physiological ailments, but with the interesting twist of how physiology is linked to human behaviour.


Studies reported in this era have a tendency to go into the realm of neurology but were tempered with a psychological bias which advanced the science of neuropsychology. Cognitive studies were heavily reported and there was an interesting body of research developed around infant and infant animal psychology. The focus on sleep studies and the instrumentation used to research in this area shows a movement away from traditional dream psychoanalysis to an investigation of dreaming from a physiological perspective. This era in the Canadian Journal of Psychology shows that the dominant view in Canadian psychology emphasises cognitive and physiological aspects of behaviour and the introduction of a new paradigm into mainstream psychological thought.