Dr. Peter Suedfeld is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He is one of the pioneering researchers in the field of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) and in his field research he has studied the reactions and adaptation of crews in the Antarctic, the Canadian High Arctic, and in space vehicles, as well as survivors of the Holocaust and other traumatic events. His research findings were among the first to emphasize the positive aspects and consequences of these experiences.
Research interests include the effects of challenging and stressful environments and experiences on psychological processes and behaviour, including coping, positive and negative outcomes, and both short- and long-term aftereffects. Examples of the environments and experiences studied are: living and working in extreme and unusual situations such as space vehicles and polar stations; isolation and confinement; high-level political and military decision-making; surviving genocide and persecution.
Dr. Suedfeld’s secondary research area is Cognitive Science.
Isolated, Confined, and Extreme Environments
Suedfeld, P. (2018). Antarctica and space as psychological analogues. REACH: Reviews in Human Space Exploration, 9-12, 1-4.
Suedfeld, P., Rank, A.D., & Maluš, M. (2018). Spontaneous mental experiences in extreme and unusual environments. In C. Kieran, R. Fox, & K. Christoff (Eds.), Oxford handbook of spontaneous thought (pp. 553-571). Oxford, UK: Oxford Universit Press.
Suedfeld, P. (2012). Extreme and unusual environments: Challenges and responses. In S. Clayton (ed.), The Oxford handbook of environmental and conservation psychology (pp. 348-371). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, P.J., Asmaro, D., Suedfeld, P., & Gushin, V. (2012). Thematic content analysis of work-family interactions: Retired cosmonauts’ reflections. Acta Astronautica, 81, 306-317.
Suedfeld, P., & Brcic, J. (2011). Resolution of psychosocial crises associated with flying in space. Acta Astronautica, 69, 24-29.
Suedfeld, P. (2010). Historical space psychology: Early terrestrial explorations as Mars analogues. Planetary and Space Science, 58, 639–645.
Suedfeld, P., Legkaia, K., & Brcic, J. (2009). Coping with the problems of space flight: Reports from astronauts and cosmonauts. Acta Astronautica, 65, 312-324.
Palinkas, L.A., & Suedfeld, P. (2008). Psychological effects of polar expeditions. The Lancet, 371, 153-163.
Suedfeld, P. (2005). Invulnerability, coping, salutogenesis, integration: Four phases of space psychology. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 76(6), B61-B73.
Suedfeld, P., Ramirez, C., Deaton, J. & Baker-Brown, G. (1982). Reactions and attributes of prisoners in solitary confinement. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 9, 303-340.
Suedfeld, P., & Morrison, B.H. (2018). The role of integrative complexity in forecasting and influence. In S. Canna & M. Egan (Eds.) Influence in an age of rising connectedness. Washington, DC: A Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) White Paper.
Suedfeld, P. (2017). Leaders under stress: Does cognitive ability affect career stability? In P. Bursens, et al. (Eds.). Complex political decision-making: Leadership, legitimacy and communication (pp. 97-110). London: Routledge.
Suedfeld, P. (2014). Political and military geniuses: Psychological profiles and responses to stress. In D.K. Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley Handbook of Genius (pp. 244-265). New York: Wiley.
Suedfeld, P., & Brcic, J. (2011). Scoring universal values in the study of terrorist groups and leaders. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 4(2), 166-174.
Suedfeld, P., Cross, R.W., & Brcic, J. (2011). Two years of ups and downs: Barack Obama’s patterns of integrative complexity, motive imagery, and values. Political Psychology, 32(6), 1007-1033.
Suedfeld, P. (2010). The cognitive processing of politics and politicians: Archival studies of conceptual and integrative complexity. Journal of Personality, 78, 1669–1702.
Suedfeld, P. (2007). Torture, interrogation, security, and psychology: Absolutistic versus complex thinking. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 7(1), 55-63.
Liht, J., Suedfeld, P., & Krawczyk, A. (2005). Integrative complexity in face-to-face negotiations between the Chiapas guerrillas and the Mexican government. Political Psychology, 26, 543-552.
Suedfeld, P., Guttieri, K., & Tetlock, P.E. (2003). Assessing integrative complexity at a distance: Archival analyses of thinking and decision making. In J.M. Post (Ed.), The psychological assessment of political leaders: With profiles of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton (pp. 246-270). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Genocide and Persecution
Chang, S.C.H., & Suedfeld, P. (2017). The faithful do not yield: Jehovah’s Witnesses n Nazi camps. Genocide Studies International,11(2), 1-12.
Suedfeld, P. (2015). Indomitability, resilience, and posttraumatic growth. In D. Ajdukovic, S. Kimhi, & M. Lahad (Eds.), Resiliency: Enhancing coping with crisis and terrorism (pp. 1-18). Amsterdam, Netherlands: IOS Press.
Suedfeld, P., & de Best, S. (2008). Value hierarchies of Holocaust rescuers and resistance fighters. Genocide Studies and Prevention, 3(1), 31-42.
Suedfeld, P., Soriano, E., McMurtry, D.L., Paterson, H., Weiszbeck, T.L., & Krell, R. (2005). Erikson’s “Components of a healthy personality” among Holocaust survivors immediately and forty years after the war. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 60(3), 229-248.
Krell, R., Suedfeld, P., & Soriano, E. (2004). Child Holocaust survivors as parents: A transgenerational perspective. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74, 502-508.
Suedfeld, P. (2003). Specific and general attributional patterns of Holocaust survivors. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 35, 122-130.
Suedfeld, P., Paterson, H., Soriano, E., & Zuvic, S. (2002). Lethal stereotypes: Hair and eye color as survival characteristics during the Holocaust. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 2368-2376.
Suedfeld, P. (2002). Life after the ashes: The postwar pain, and resilience, of child survivors of the Holocaust. Washington, DC: Center for Advanced Holocaust Research, US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Experiments in Restricted Environmental Stimulation
Suedfeld, P., & Borrie, R.A. (1999). Health and therapeutic applications of chamber and flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST). Psychology and Health, 14, 545-566.
Suedfeld, P., Steel, G.D., Wallbaum, A.B.C., Bluck, S., Livesey, N., & Capozzi, L. (1994). Explaining the effects of stimulus restriction: Testing the dynamic hemispheric asymmetry hypothesis. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 14, 87-100.
Suedfeld, P., Turner, J.W. Jr. & Fine, T.H. (Eds.) (1990). Restricted environmental stimulation: Progress in flotation REST. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Suedfeld, P. (1990). Restricted environmental stimulation and smoking cessation: A fifteen-year review. International Journal of the Addictions, 25, 861-888.
Suedfeld, P., Metcalfe, J. & Bluck, S. (1987). Enhancement of scientific creativity by flotation REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique). Journal of Environmental Psychology, 7, 219-231.
Suedfeld, P., Landon, P.B. & Ballard, E.J. (1983). Effects of reduced stimulation on divergent and convergent thinking. Environment and Behavior, 5, 727-738.
Suedfeld, P., Ballard, E.J. & Murphy, M. (1983). Water immersion and flotation: From stress experiment to stress treatment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 3, 147-155.
Kalish, N., Landon, P.B., Rank, D.S., & Suedfeld, P. (1983). Stimulus, task, and environmental characteristics as factors in the cognitive processing of English sentences. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 21, 1-3.
- Officer of the Order of Canada (2019)
- Royal Canadian Geographical Society
- Lawrence J. Burpee Medal (2018)
- Docteur de l’Universitè de Nîmes (Hon.) (2018)
- Canadian Honours Polar Medal (2016)
- Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012)
- Canadian Psychological Association
- President (2000)
- Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology Award (2015)
- Gold Medal Award (2011)
- Donald O. Hebb Award (1996)
- International Society of Political Psychology
- Roberta Sigel Award (2005)
- Harold D. Lasswell Award (2001)
- UBC Arts Undergraduate Society and Alma Mater Society Just Desserts Award (2001)
- Zachor Award of the Parliament of Canada (2000)
- Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies – Distinguished Scholar in Residence (2000)
- US National Science Foundation – Antarctica Service Medal (1994)
- Royal Society of Canada Fellow (1988)
- American Psychological Association Fellow
- Association for Psychological Science Fellow
- International Academy of Astronautics Full Member
- The Explorers Club Fellow International
- Academy of Behavioural Medicine Research Fellow
- New York Academy of Sciences Fellow
- Society of Experimental Social Psychology Fellow