Harvey A. Pines, PhD Professor

Harvey A. Pines, PhD

Phone: 888-2517

I have taught in the Psychology Department at Canisius College for more than 30 years. During that time I have always been impressed with the fine character of the students who attend this institution. I currently teach the psychology department’s two semester course in Introduction to Psychology, as well as advanced courses in social psychology and forensic psychology. In teaching these courses I try to develop not only student’s knowledge of the field, but other important skills as well.

Students emerging from college in today’s world need knowledge of a discipline, but they also need to know how to continue to learn after college, how to solve problems that arise in their work and personal lives, and how to communicate effectively with other people, orally and in writing. I try to create assignments in all my courses that address these needs.

In addition to teaching I, like most other academic professors, engage in scholarly research to develop new knowledge. One of the things that makes this fun is the opportunity to work with students on research projects. This enables the student to learn about research as an apprentice and not just from reading a book. Many students emerge from this joint activity with professional presentations and even journal articles to their credit, an important asset if they wish to go on to graduate or professional school.

My own research interests are varied, but one that I have pursued since the mid 1980’s is William James idea of “the material self.” William James was one of the first psychologists to discuss people’s concept of themselves and how they express their self-concept by the clothes they wear, their possessions, and other “material” aspects of their lives. These material possessions are often symbolic of ourselves and we are careful in how we choose to communicate with them. We feel very uncomfortable when material objects represent us that are not true expressions of our self. For example, think how you would feel if you had to wear something to a party and what you were wearing was “not at all me.” My students and I have been conducting research into these questions.

When not working at Canisius I look after my goldfish, work in my small garden at home (mostly flowers), and explore the excellent restaurant scene here in Buffalo. I am also interested in art and spend a fair amount of time at art galleries and museums both in Buffalo and when traveling to other cities. One of my favorite places to go is Toronto, Canada, a city of great diversity. Coming from NYC I find myself attracted to urban environments for both my professional and recreational activities.

If there is anything else you would like to know about me or my activities at Canisius please e-mail me at Hope to meet you sometime in the future.