Human Neuropsychology in Canada: The 1990s (A Review of Research by Canadian Neuropsychologists Conducted over the Past Decade)

Article excerpt

Neuropsychological research in Canada, set in motion by the mid-century work of a handful of Canadian pioneers, has continued and indeed flourished over the past five decades. From Donald O. Hebb's 1949 seminal book, Organization of Behavior, to today's rich and diverse investigations of brain-behaviour relationships, Canadians have repeatedly been at the forefront of human neuropsychological research. Our review of human neuropsychological research in Canada in the 1990s will serve to illustrate the depth and breadth of these investigations and demonstrate this country's pivotal role in a scientific discipline that continues to grow in an exponential manner.

Our aim is to review the research activity in human neuropsychology that has taken place in Canada during the decade of the 1990s, and to examine major trends in research focus that have occurred over the past three decades. This work represents the third review in a series that began in 1981, when Rourke, Fisk, Strang, and Gates published their review of Canadian human neuropsychology research for the 1970s. Fuerst and Rourke (1995) conducted a similar review for the decade of the 1980s. First, a brief description of the method used to collect the research of the 1990s is reviewed, followed by summaries of work that has been conducted in Canada over this decade. Next, specific predictions regarding research and service delivery in human neuropsychology in the 1990s that were generated by Rourke (1991a) are evaluated using the information collected through this method. In the final section, other major trends in human neuropsychology in the 1990s are examined.

To collect the information, a list of over 200 Canadian neuropsychologists was compiled from the membership rosters of the Canadian Psychological Association, Division 1 (Brain and Behaviour) and Division 23 (Clinical Neuropsychology), the International Neuropsychological Society, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology, as well as from the previous two reviews. Each psychologist was sent a letter describing the project and requesting reprints or lists of their research in human neuropsychology that had been published between 1990 and 1999, inclusive. The response rate was approximately 32% (i.e., 81 neuropsychologists) and resulted in the collection of over 1,100 references to articles, chapters, and books. Although less than half of the neuropsychologists contacted for this survey responded with lists of relevant publications, it should be noted that in a 1994 survey, Putnam, Deluca, and Anderson found that approximately 15% of clinical neuropsychologists in North America had produced 84% of the existing neuropsychology publications. Therefore, the works collected for the present review are probably a reasonably representative sample of neuropsychological research in the last decade in Canada.

Before proceeding with the review, its scope and limitations will be briefly described. Fuerst and Rourke (1995) reported that the extraordinary volume of research conducted in Canada during the 1980s necessitated limiting their review to selected investigations generated by prominent researchers in major centres across the country. Given the further growth in neuropsychological activity during the last decade, we also regret that it was impossible to review all of the research conducted during this time period. Whereas the production of such an immense amount of research over a 10-year period is a clear indication of this country's continued leadership in this field, this also made it impossible to include much work that deserved attention.

For the current study, we focused primarily on a self-selected pool of Canadian neuropsychologists as stated above but we attempted to include the work of as many respondents as possible and sought material from various prominent Canadian researchers not belonging to the aforementioned professional groups. At times, space limitations forced us to include only the work of researchers who had published multiple and/or seminal pieces of work during this time period. …