Dr. Charles Crawford

crawfordFellow of the Association of Psychological Science
Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Simon Fraser University

The Crawford Lab for Evolutionary Studies at Simon Fraser University is named for Dr. Charles B. Crawford for his contributions to the field of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology.


Charles Crawford grew up in High Prairie, Alberta.  He received his B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Alberta in 1961, and his M.Sc. in measurement and statistics and theoretical psychology in 1964.  He was awarded his doctorate in Psychology by McGill University in 1966.

Crawford was hired as an assistant professor in SFU’s Psychology department in 1966.  He initially taught and researched in the fields of differential psychology.  In particular he researched factor analysis and the links between intelligence and creativity.  He was granted tenure in 1970 and promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1976.  Around the same time as his promotion to associate professor, Crawford’s research and teaching interests began to shift.  He became increasingly interested in behavioural genetics.  While on sabbatical at the Institute of Behaviour Genetics at the University of Colorado, he was introduced to evolutionary behavioural biology and sociobiology, or the systematic study of the biological bases of all social behaviors.  In the early 1980s, Crawford served as Chair of the Psychology department and this gave him the opportunity to start teaching courses in animal behaviour.  This led to Crawford’s promotion of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology at SFU.

He wrote several articles on in this research field and his 1987 edited book with Krebs and Smith entitled Sociobiology and Psychology: Ideals, issues and applications was one of the first books to attempt to bring modern evolutionary theory and psychology together.  It was met with some strong criticism from a well-known developmental psychologist, Sandra Scarr, but the generation of debate is generally accepted as an indication of impact in a given field of research. 

 Crawford was awarded the Dean of Arts Medal in 2000 and he received SFU’s Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy in 2002 for his work.  Crawford retired as an emeritus professor in 2002.