Theoretical psychology at the University of Alberta as social science during the Cold War.

We examine the University of Alberta’s Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology (1965—1990) in the context of social science conducted during the Cold War. We begin by considering the center with respect to three important properties of social science at this time: an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, a focus on theory, and a preference for quantitative methods. Our analysis suggests that center activities also exhibited these characteristics. They were highly interdisciplinary, they were concerned with the development of psychological theory, and center members were experts in a variety of formal, mathematical, or statistical techniques. We then discuss the center in relation to a subdomain of research known as Cold War social science, which also was interdisciplinary, theoretical and quantitative, but in addition focused on research that contributed to national security against the rise of communism. Center members also believed that their research had social implications, but these were related to a humanistic psychology that served as a positive social force, and diverged from typical Cold War applications. We end by considering the center as an example of a different kind of Cold War science that emerged from a unique set of contextual influences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)