Dr. Carmen Poulin
In a global sense, my research interests focus on the lived reality of women and marginalised
groups. This sounds very broad, but it is accurate. I’m interested in the ways women and marginalised
men –– specific groups of women and men –– manage their lives psychologically in response to the
demands of specific social contexts that affect them. Previously, I was particularly interested
in the correspondence between psychological and physiological responses that are specific to women.
For example, I studied the effect of the menstrual cycle on performance and mood. I also carried out
research on the relationship between physiological and psychological sexual arousal. More recently,
I have been particularly interested in social organisations and their effects on women and marginalised
men’s daily experience. As my interests have become more focussed on the structural aspects that
influence experience, I have adapted my methodological approach to better suit my research needs.
Methodological approaches that I used in my earlier research were fundamentally
reductionist. I tried to circumvent psychological biases (e.g., demands
characteristics) that could influence my findings. With time, however, I became
increasingly interested in the psychological experiences of women, and felt that
I should not be trying to circumvent psychological biases, but rather, examine
them in more detail. In collaboration with Lynne Gouliquer, a sociologist, I
developed a new methodological approach to look at the dynamics between the social
context and the psychological experience. This approach has permitted us to ask
very different questions, which in turn, helps us to understand the psychology of
women and marginalised men in much different ways.
Currently, most of my research is on the social organisation of the everyday life
of women in particular institutions, and the cognitive schemata women use to make
sense of their reality. The epistemological assumptions influencing how I develop
ideas for research inquiries centrally situates the experience of marginalised groups.
My research is based on a feminist understanding of the social world.
PhD: Psychology, Queen’s University
MA: Psychology, Queen’s University
BA: Psychology & Biology, University of New Brunswick
Practicing Licence: Corporation des Psychologues du Québec