University of Manitoba: U of M - Faculty of Arts - Psychology - Faculty

Dr. Joseph Pear, Professor



I received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University.  
     My undergraduate major was psychology and my graduate major was experimental psychology.

Professional Experience

Since receiving my Ph.D. I have been teaching in the Department of Psychology at the University of Manitoba. I have also been a consultant at the St. Amant Centre (a residential treatment facility for developmentally disabled individuals in Winnipeg), and as a registered psychologist in the province of Manitoba I supervise behavioural treatment in a private practice.

Selected Publications

I have written (with Dr. Garry Martin) a behaviour modification textbook entitled "Behavior Modification: What It Is and How to Do It" (published by Prentice Hall), a basic text on learning entitled "The Science of Learning" (published by Psychology Press), and a history and systems text entitled "Emergence and Convergence of Psychological Systems: An Historical and Comtemporary Perspective" (to be published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).  
     Some of my recent research publications are:  
Martin, T. L., Pear, J. J., & Martin, G. L. (2002). Feedback and its effectiveness in a computer-aided personalized system of instruction course. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35, 427-430.  
Martin, T.L., Pear, J.J., & Martin, G.L. (2002). Analysis of proctor marking accuracy in a computer-aided personalized system of instruction course. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 35, 309-312.  
Pear, J.J., & Crone-Todd, D. E. (2002). A social constructivist approach to computer-mediated instruction. Computers & Education, 38, 221-231.  
Pear, J.J., Crone-Todd, D.E., Wirth, K., & Simister, H. (2001). Assessment of thinking levels in students' answers. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 5(4), 94-98.  
Crone-Todd, D.E., & Pear, J.J. (2001). Application of Bloom?s Taxonomy to PSI. Behavior Analyst Today, 3, 204-210.  

Future Plans

I have combined my interests in teaching and research by developing a computer-mediated version of Keller's Personalized System of Instruction(PSI). The method I have developed is called Computer-Aided Personalized System of Instruction (CAPSI). I use this method with my undergraduate classes and am studying how it may be used to develop higher-order thinking, which I believe to be an extremely important objective of education.  
     In addition to my research with CAPSI, I also conduct basic research on animals (specifically, testing learning principles with Siamese fighting fish. In my basic research I use an automated 3-dimensional tracking system I have developed which permits data to be recorded more continuously than is possible with standard operant conditioning apparatus. I believe that to obtain a deep understanding of behavior, it is important to study it as a continuous process.  
     My major plans are to continue teaching, conducting basic and applied behavioural research, and writing.

Course Information

Undergraduate Courses:  
     The undergraduate courses that I typically teach are 17.244 (Behaviour Modification Principles), 17.245 (Behaviour Modification Applications), 17.247 (Learning Foundations of Psychology), and 17.452 (Orientations to Psychological Systems). The texts that I use for these courses are ones that I have written for them ("Behavior Modification: What It Is and How to Do It", "The Science of Learning", and "Emergence and Convergence of Psychological Systems: An Historical and Contemporary Perspective").  
     In my undergraduate courses I use a computer-mediated method I have developed called Computer-Aided Personalized System of Instruction (CAPSI). There are no lectures and no class meetings in these courses. Students access the CAPSI program through computers located on campus or from home computers. In addition to the textbook for the course, students purchase a course manual from the bookstore. The textbook contains all the material the student is to learn in the course and the course manual contains the information that students need in order to access the CAPSI program.  
     The course material is divided into ten (10) units (although this number may vary). The manual contains short-answer (e.g., ranging from a few sentences to a paragraph or two) study questions on each unit. When a student feels he/she can answer all the study questions in a unit, he/she requests a test on that unit from the computer. After writing and submitting the test, it is sent for marking to either the instructor, a teaching assistant, or two students (called proctors) who have already passed a test on that unit. If the student passes the test (i.e., demonstrates mastery of the unit), he/she may proceed to the next unit; otherwise, the student restudies the material and takes another test on the unit. Students proceed through the units in this fashion, receiving one (1) course point for each unit test they pass and one-half (1/2) course point for each unit test for which they serve as a proctor. In addition, there are two midterm examinations (marked out of 15 course points each) administered by computer and a final examination (marked out of 60 course points). The final examination is supervised, and requires the student to physically attend a specific examination classroom at a scheduled time during the final examination period after the close of lectures in the Faculty of Arts.  
(At present, because of my administrative duties as Associate Head (Graduate), the above courses are taught by my M.A. level graduate student, Mr. Toby Martin.  
Graduate Courses:  
17.733. Systems of Psychology  
     This course covers the major orientations or approaches to psychology: cognitivism, behaviourism, psychodynamics, and humanism. The text is my book entitled "Emergence and Convergence of Psychological Systems: An Historical and Contemporary Perspective" plus outside readings.  
17.827. Seminar in Basic Operant Research  
     This course covers current findings in learning, with a focus mainly on findings in the area of operant conditioning. The text for the course is my book "The Science of Learning" plus outside readings.  
17.842. Quantitative Methods in Psychology  
     This is a required course for the M.A. degree in psychology. The course focuses on regression or correlational techniques (including curve fitting and multiple regression). Students taking the course will obtain a good grounding in the General Linear Model of statistical analysis.