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Donna Tafreshi

Dr. Donna Tafreshi

Assistant Professor


Abbotsford campus, D218c

email Donna


PhD, Historical, Quantitative, & Theoretical Psychology, SFU

MA, Developmental Psychology, SFU

Teaching Interests

Dr. Tafreshi's teaching interests include statistics for psychology, social science research methods, psychometrics, history and philosophy of psychology, and infant and child development. 

Research Interests

Dr. Tafreshi's primary area of research examines the relationship between methodology, epistemology, and language. This involves the analysis of methodological, statistical, and psychometric concepts, their historical and current uses in psychological inquiry, and the philosophical assumptions underlying those uses. She has written on various methodological topics including measurement (quantification), null hypothesis testing, statistical error, meta-analysis, conceptual analysis, and the role of qualitative research in psychology. She is particularly interested in questions pertaining to the foundations of psychology (as a subject and as a discipline) and the history and philosophy of science.

Dr. Tafreshi also has a background in linguistic and epistemological development. In particular, she is interested in the development of language and knowledge understanding in infants and children. She is also interested in language-use in developmental psychology research, including the analysis of concepts typically employed in the developmental literature (e.g., morality, expectation, surprise, understanding, knowing, believing).


Select Publications:

Tafreshi, D. (2022). Sense and nonsense in psychological measurement: A case of problem and method passing one another by. Theory and Psychology, 32(1), 158-163.

Tafreshi, D. (2022). Adolphe Quetelet and the legacy of the "average man" in psychology. History of Psychology, 25(1), 34-55.

Tafreshi, D. (2020). On the interpretative nature of quantitative methods and psychology’s resistance to qualitative methods. In J. T. Lamiell & K. L. Slaney (Eds.). Problematic research practices and inertia in scientific psychology: History, sources, and recommended solutions. Routledge.

​Tafreshi, D., Khalil, N., & Racine, T. P. (2018). A qualitative person-oriented inquiry into women's perspectives on knowledge and knowing. Human Development, 61(6), 337-362.

​Tafreshi, D., Slaney, K. L., & Neufeld, S. D. (2016). Quantification in psychology: Critical analysis of an unreflective practice. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 36,(4), 233-249.

​Tafreshi, D. & Racine, T. P. (2016). Children's interpretive theory of mind: The role of mothers' personal epistemologies and mother-child talk about interpretation. Cognitive Development, 39, 57-70.

​Tafreshi, D. & Racine, T. P. (2015). Conceptualizing personal epistemology as beliefs about knowledge and knowing: A grammatical investigation. Theory and Psychology, 25(6), 735-752.

​Tafreshi, D., Thompson, J. J., & Racine, T. P. (2014). An analysis of the conceptual foundations of the infant preferential looking paradigm. Human Development, 57(4), 222-240.

For a complete list of publications, visit Dr. Tafreshi's Google Scholar page.

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