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Irina worked as a Psychologist and was teaching Psychology since 1988 in Russia. She immigrated to Canada in 1997 and joined Collective Intelligence Lab (cross-association between Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry), McMaster University in the same year. She continues working since then as a Senior Researcher in this laboratory. She is also a licensed Psychologist (registered by the College of Psychologists of Ontario) and practices in Hamilton, Toronto, and St. Catherines since 1999. She is directing three documentary projects. 

Featured Publications

Trofimova, I., Potapov, A. & Sulis, W. (1998) Collective effects on individual behavior: in search of universality. International Journal of Chaos Theory and Applications, 3, 1-2, 53-63.

Trofimova I. (1999). How people of different age, sex and temperament estimate the world. Psychological Reports, 85/2, 533-552. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1999.85.2.533

Watkins D., Mortazavi S. & Trofimova I. (2000). Independent and interdependent conceptions of self: an investigation of age, gender and culture differences in importance and satisfaction ratings. Cross Cultural Research, 34, 2, 113-134.

Trofimova I. (2001a) Principles, concepts and phenomena of Ensembles with Variable Structure. In: Sulis W., Trofimova I. (Eds.) Nonlinear Dynamics in Life and Social Sciences. IOS Press, Amsterdam. Pp. 217-231.

Trofimova I. (2001b) Universals and specifics in psychology. In: Sulis W., Trofimova I. (Eds.) Nonlinear Dynamics in Life and Social Sciences. IOS Press, Amsterdam. Pp. 286-307

Trofimova I. (2003) Sociability, diversity and compatibility in developing systems: EVS approach. In: Nation J., Trofimova I., Rand J., Sulis W. (Eds.) Formal Descriptions of Developing Systems. Kluwer Press. Pp. 231-248. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0064-2_13

Trofimova, I. (2009) Exploration of the benefits of an activity-specific test of temperament. Psychological Reports, 105, 643-658.

Trofimova, I. (2010c). An investigation into differences between the structure of temperament and the structure of personality. The American Journal of Psychology, 123, 4, 467-480 DOI: 10.5406/amerjpsyc.123.4.0467

Trofimova, I. & Sulis W. (2011). Is temperament activity-specific? Validation of the Structure of Temperament Questionnaire – Compact (STQ-77). International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 11(3), 389-400.

Trofimova, I. (2012a) Who is in charge of Science: men view “Time” as more fixed, “Reality” as less real, and “Order” as less ordered. Cognitive Systems Research, 15-16, 50-56. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2011.07.001.

Trofimova, I. (2012b) Understanding misunderstanding: a study of sex differences in meaning attribution. Psychological Research, 77(6), 748-760, DOI: 10.1007/s00426-012-0462-8

Trofimova, I. (2013) A study of the dynamics of sex differences in adulthood. International Journal of Psychology. 48 (6), 1230-1236. DOI: 10.1080/00207594.2012.756981

Trofimova, I. (2014) Observer bias: how temperament matters in semantic perception of lexical material. PLoS ONE, 9(1): e85677. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085677

Trofimova, I. (2015) Do psychological sex differences reflect evolutionary bi-sexual partitioning? American Journal of Psychology, 128(4), 485–514  DOI: 10.5406/amerjpsyc.128.4.0485, PMID: 26721176

Trofimova, I. & Christiansen, J. (2016) Coupling of temperament traits with mental illness in four age groups. Psychological Reports, 118, 2, 387-412, PMID: 27154370, DOI 10.1177/0033294116639430

Trofimova, I. (2016). The interlocking between functional aspects of activities and a neurochemical model of adult temperament. In: Arnold, M. C (Ed.) Temperaments: Individual Differences, Social and Environmental Influences and Impact on Quality of Life. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., NY, p. 77-147

Trofimova, I. & Robbins, T.W. (2016) Temperament and arousal systems: a new synthesis of differential psychology and functional neurochemistry. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 64, 382–402. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.03.008 Pubmed: 26969100

Trofimova, I. & Sulis, W. (2016a). Benefits of distinguishing between physical and social-verbal aspects of behaviour: an example of generalized anxiety. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:338. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00338

Trofimova, I. & Sulis, W. (2016b). A study of the coupling of FET temperament traits with Major Depression. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1848.  doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01848.

Trofimova I. (2017) Functional constructivism: in search of formal descriptors. Nonlinear Dynamics in Psychology, 21/4, 441-474. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.32098.43205

Trofimova, I. (2018). Functionality vs dimensionality in psychological taxonomies, and a puzzle of emotional valence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Biology, 383 (1744), doi: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0167.

Trofimova, I., Robbins, T., Sulis, W., Uher, J. (2018) Taxonomies of psychological individual differences: biological perspectives on millennia-long challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Biology. 383 (1744) doi: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0152

Clinical and Research Interests

An author of: Ensembles of Variable Structures (in mathematical psychology), concept of projection through capacities (in cognitive psychology), Compact version of the STQ test (psychometrics and differential psychology), neurochemical model "Functional Ensemble of Temperament".


  • (Ph.D.), (Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences), (1995)
  • (M.Sc.) (Lomonosov Moscow State University), (1988)

Research Areas

Temperament, DSM, neurochemical systems of behavioral regulation, psychosemantics, biologically-based biases in meaning attribution, evolutionary psychology, mathematical modeling in psychology, nonlinear dynamics, complexity theory.

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