Jordan B Peterson Biography & Facts
Jordan Bernt Peterson (born 12 June 1962) is a Canadian professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist, and YouTube personality. He began to receive widespread attention in the late 2010s for his conservative views on cultural and political issues.Born and raised in Alberta, Peterson obtained bachelor's degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University. After teaching and research at Harvard University, he returned to Canada in 1998 to join the faculty of psychology at the University of Toronto. In 1999, he published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which became the basis for many of his subsequent lectures. The book combined information from psychology, mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and neuroscience to analyze systems of belief and meaning.
In 2016, Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16), passed by the Parliament of Canada to introduce "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited grounds of discrimination. He argued that the bill would make the use of certain gender pronouns into compelled speech, and related this argument to a general critique of political correctness and identity politics. He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.
Peterson's lectures and debates—propagated also through podcasts and YouTube—gradually gathered millions of views. He put his clinical practice and teaching duties on hold by 2018, when he published his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Promoted with a world tour, it became a bestseller in several countries. In 2021, Peterson published his third book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.
Peterson was born on 12 June 1962, in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up in Fairview, a small town in the northwest of the province. He was the eldest of three children born to Walter and Beverley Peterson. Beverley was a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter was a school teacher. His middle name is Bernt (, BAIR-ənt), after his Norwegian great-grandfather.In junior high school, Peterson became friends with Rachel Notley and her family. Notley became leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th premier of Alberta. Peterson joined the New Democratic Party (NDP) from ages 13 to 18.
After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature, studying to be a corporate lawyer. During this time he read Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell which significantly affected his educational focus and worldview. He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982. Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe, where he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War; 20th-century European totalitarianism; and the works of Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984. In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill's Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.
While at McGill University and the Douglas Hospital, he conducted research into familial alcoholism and its associated psychopathologies, such as childhood and adolescent aggression and hyperactive behavior.
From July 1993 to June 1998, Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University, where he was hired as an assistant professor in the psychology department, later becoming an associate professor. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and showed great readiness to take on research projects, even unconventional ones. Still while there, he switched his primary area of research from familial alcoholism to personality. After the change of focus, he has published extensively. Two former PhD students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz, recalled that Peterson's lectures were already highly admired by the students. He returned to Canada in July 1998 and eventually became a full professor at the University of Toronto.Peterson's areas of study and research within the fields of psychology are psychopharmacology, abnormal, neuro, clinical, personality, social, industrial and organizational, religious, ideological, political, and creativity. Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers and was cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017; at end of 2020 almost 15,000 times.Beginning 2003, Peterson has been sought by various mainstream and international TV productions for commentary on a wide range of subjects, from a personal- and social-psychological perspective. He was invited by Wodek Szemberg for appearances on Big Ideas in Canada as a lecturer.
A TV mini-series based on Maps of Meaning was aired on TVOntario in 2004.
In 2007, BBC Horizon produced Mad but Glad, focussing on pianist Nick van Bloss; van Bloss met Peterson, who provided insights as a clinician and researcher with expertise on low-latent inhibition.
From 2011, TVOntario's The Agenda has featured Peterson as an essayist and panelist on psychologically relevant cultural issues.For most of his career, Peterson maintained a clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He has been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16. As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017 and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018. In February 2018, Peterson entered into a promise with the College of Psychologists of Ontario after a professional misconduct complaint about his communication and the boundaries he sets with his patients. The College did not consider a full disciplinary hearing necessary and accepted Peterson entering into a three-month undertaking to work on prioritizing his practice and improving his patient communications. Peterson had no prior disciplinary punishments or restrictions on his clinical practice.Regarding the topic of religion and God, Bret Weinstein moderated a debate between Peterson and Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver in June 2018. In July, the two debated the subject again, this time moderated by Douglas Murray, at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London. In April 2019, Peterson debated Slavoj Žižek at the Sony Centre in Toronto over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.
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