The Social Psychology Area at The University of Western Ontario was created in 1970, thanks to the efforts of new faculty members Neil Vidmar, Miles Goodstadt, and Bob Gardner. They were soon joined by Richard Sorrentino and Milton Rokeach, who were instrumental in moving the Social Psychology Area (offices, lab space) from Middlesex College to its current home in the Social Sciences Building. This preliminary faculty was also responsible for ending the Department’s reliance on volunteer participants by creating the university’s first-ever participant pool.
Dale Miller came into the program in 1974, followed by Tory Higgins in 1977. Along with Peter Herman at the University of Toronto and Mark Zanna at the University of Waterloo, Tory Higgins helped found the biennial Ontario Symposium on Personality and Social Psychology (profiled below). One year later, Jim Olson, Bill Fisher and Clive Seligman joined the area. It was this initial faculty that laid the foundations for the collegial, productive, research-oriented area that characterizes Social Psychology at Western to this day. The addition of prominent scholars Victoria Esses (1990) and Lorne Campbell (2002) to the faculty has ensured that our area continues in this tradition while maintaining a high standard of excellence in research and instruction. The most recent milestone in the history of the Social Psychology Area is the full consolidation of the area in 2009, which included the move of all graduate student and post-doc offices to the 6300 block of the Social Science Centre and the move of the Social Area Labs from the 4th floor to completely renovated facilities in the 6400 block. Thanks to additional updates of our technical equipment, the Social Psychology Area is proud of having one of the best-equipped social psychology lab facilities in the world.