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October 24, 2002 In memoriam



Campbell Perry

Campbell Perry, who was a member of the Department of Psychology for over 30 years and retired in 1996 at the rank of Emeritus Professor (the equivalent of the current Distinguished Emeritus Professor), died on May 15.

After completing his PhD at the University of Sydney in his native Australia, Cam joined the psychology department at Sir George Williams University. Cam was interested in the nature of consciousness, especially with respect to the phenomenon of hypnosis. He was at the forefront of research on the effects of hypnosis on memory and on the use of hypnosis in forensic contexts.

Cam was one of Concordia’s most productive scholars. During his career he published in such journals as Science and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. There is no doubt that Cam was one of the world’s foremost authorities on the experimental study of hypnosis and its application to forensic issues.

Cam deservedly received many honours and awards. The Social Science Citation Index shows that his hit rate is still strong. He was well known as a stimulating and effective supervisor. His students will never forget him.

Cam’s personality was distinct and memorable. On a good day, he was mildly irreverent; on a really good day, he was wildly irreverent. Cam was not known for his concern with fashion in any of its manifestations. He was sensitive and principled, perhaps overly so. In part, Cam’s life was a gentle battle against cliché, pretension, officiousness and pomposity. His wit, his eye for irony, and his keen sense of humour enlivened many department and committee meetings.

Cam was not the sort of professor who was routinely invited to meet with potential donors or with members of the board of governors. He was, however, sought out to participate in other contexts. He was a frequent keynote speaker at academic conferences and he often served as a consultant in courtrooms.

When the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada were re-evaluating the trial evidence used to initially convict David Milgard, they needed an expert to examine the testimony of witnesses who had been hypnotized. They called Cam. When women and men who had been accused of heinous crimes by persons who had “recovered” lost memories of abuse (often under hypnosis), they called Cam to testify about whether such recollections could be possible. In these ways, and as a scholar, mentor and colleague, Cam made a difference.

A memorial will be held for Cam by the department in the fall.

-William M. Bukowski