Dr. Albert Katz
Biographical InformationI was born and raised in Montreal, going to West Hill High School which, as I found out some years later, was the high school also for the famous psychologist Kenneth Spence. Knowing that fact during the early 60s when I was in high school would not have had any effect on my life. As it was I bumbled through elementary and high school and somehow (much to everyone’s surprise) received high enough marks on the province-wide finals that I somehow got into McGill University.
My life at McGill was somewhat uneven. I learned to play bridge, wrote and even published some poetry, and did the type of things that were expected in the don’t-trust- anyone- over- 40- summer- of- love time. However, among the things I failed to do was to go to classes from about November on. For this minor infraction I was asked to leave McGill but, in a letter written to satisfy parents and then-girlfriend, I convinced the powers to-be that my absence would be a major loss to the Academy.
Upon being given a second chance, I decided at that time to clean up my life, studied hard, cut off my beard, changed my area of study and lo, in 1969 received a BSc in Anthropology. By this time, I realized that I didn’t want to be an Anthropologist and thought Psychology would be just the thing for me. Hey I was still relatively young. The University of Western Ontario accepted me into a qualifying year in graduate school, so that I could overcome deficiencies in my knowledge of psychology. Al Paivio, just at that time finishing up his major book on Imagery and Verbal Processes taught us qualifying students a research course and Peter Denny took me on as advisor for the equivalent of an honours degree research project (which a few years later Peter and I published in what is now known as the Journal of Memory and Language). Al Paivio accepted me as a graduate student, one of the most fortunate experiences in my life. There are few people that I respect more than Al Paivio, as a scholar and as a person. Under Al’s supervision I received my MA in 1971 and my PhD in 1976. By this time I was married to a woman from London Ontario, and when I went on the job market the parents of my then-wife were divorcing and she wanted to stay as a support for her mother. Consequently I turned down a job offer from another University and took a two year limited term position at Western. This was yet another fortuitous event because that two-year term has worked itself into a 30 year plus stay at Western, in which, over the years, I have risen through the ranks and have been a Full professor since 1991. I was Department Chair from 2007-2014.