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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Today in Psychology

A Daily Calendar of Events in the History of Psychology



Today's Date: July 13 - 22



On July 13:

1875 — June Etta Downey was born. Downey's contributions were in the areas of clinical psychology and personality assessment. Her Downey Will-Temperament Tests (1919) received some research attention in the 1920s. She founded the psychology laboratory at the University of Wyoming in 1900.

1922 — Fred E. Fiedler was born. Fiedler's research has resulted in the contingency theory of leadership, describing effective leadership as a product of personal style and specific situational characteristics.

1928 — Using psychic forces, novelist Upton Sinclair's brother-in-law in Pasadena, California, transmitted an image of a fork to Sinclair's wife in Long Beach. This and other such events are described in Sinclair's book Mental Radio (1930). The foreword to that book was written by psychologist William McDougall.

1933 — Beatrice Tugenhat Gardner was born. Gardner was a comparative psychologist who, with R. Allen Gardner, began Project Washoe, the first program to teach American Sign Language to a chimpanzee.

1953 — 1.74 inches (4.42 cm) of rain fell on Ellsworth, Maine. Wilhelm Reich claimed credit for producing the rain, attributing it to his orgone-powered "Cloudbuster" rainmaker.

1997 — The First Regional Congress of Psychology for Professionals in the Americas was held in Mexico, D. F.

On July 14:

1736 — A Norwegian royal ordinance providing for care of people with mental illness was issued. It stated that main hospitals "should furnish one or two rooms, where one could place 'poor deteriorated persons' in such a manner that they could not escape easily."

1801 — Johannes Müller was born. Müller explained the law of specific nerve energies and applied it to his work in sensation. He was a founder of modern experimental psychology.

1860 — The first patient was admitted to Wisconsin's first state mental hospital, in Mendota, three years after the state legislature approved construction of the hospital on March 6, 1857. J. Edwards Lee was the hospital's first superintendent. Although this was a statewide facility, Wisconsin was unique among the states in the nineteenth century because of its heavy reliance on a system of small county mental health facilities.

1913 — Mary Henle was born. Henle's major contributions have been thorough commentaries on the history and systems of psychology, with special attention given to the history of Gestalt psychology. She has also been an active investigator of the psychology of thinking and problem solving.

1970 — Lee J. Cronbach and Lita Furby's article "How Should We Measure Change — Or Should We?" was published in Psychological Bulletin.

1983 — The first issue of Psychological Documents, a continuation of the Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, was published by the APA.

1986 — The Kentucky Psychological Association was incorporated.

On July 15:

1662 — The first charter of Great Britain's Royal Society was sealed in London. This is usually cited as the formal founding date of the Society.

1808 — The New York Lunatic Asylum opened. This early mental hospital was a branch of New York Hospital, created when the need for a mental treatment facilities outgrew the main hospital building. In 1821, the institution changed its name to the Bloomingdale Asylum and moved to another new building.

1918 — Brenda Langford Milner was born. Her studies of brain localization have shed light on the roles of the hippocampus and the temporal lobe in memory, the causes of epilepsy, and the nature of hemisphere dominance. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1973.

1936 — The Association of Consulting Psychologists (ACP) petitioned the APA for affiliate status. Gertrude Hildreth was president of the ACP at the time. The petition was tabled at the 1937 APA meeting and was not acted on at the 1938 meeting.

1941 — Psychologist John C. Flanagan was commissioned in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the rank of major. Flanagan immediately became the director of the Aviation Psychology Program (APP). Other members of the APP were nominated by the U. S. Civil Service Commission, the APA, and the American Association for Applied Psychology. The APP was primarily responsible for selection, classification, and training of Air Force personnel in World War II.

1951 — The International Union of Psychological Science was founded at the International Congress of Psychology in Stockholm. The organization's original name was the International Union of Scientific Psychology.

1975 — The first edition of the National Register of Health Services Providers in Psychology was published, with 6,877 registrants included. The register was edited by Alfred Wellner.

On July 16:

1798 — The earliest U.S. federal public health service was created. The services were originally extended only to merchant seamen.

1902 — Aleksandr R. Luria was born. Luria was a prominent Russian psychologist whose early work on the objective study of affective states was followed by later studies of the functional organization of the brain, speech functions, memory, and rehabilitation. His work established the beginnings of neuropsychology.

1930 — Sigmund Freud's book Civilization and its Discontents was published in the United States.

1957 — Governor Goodwin Knight signed California's original psychologist certification law into effect.

1964 — The state of Louisiana approved its psychologist licensure law. The law became effective on July 29 of the same year.

1965 — Robert Zajonc's article "Social Facilitation" was published in Science.

1986 — Kelly D. Brownell, G. Alan Marlatt, Edward Lichtenstein, and G. Terence Wilson's article "Understanding and Preventing Relapse" was published in the American Psychologist. The article assembled findings from many studies of addictive behaviors.

1986 — Robert S. Wyer and Thomas K. Srull's article "Human Cognition in Its Social Context" was published in Psychological Review.

1986 — Reid Hastie and Bernadette Park's article "The Relationship Between Memory and Judgment Depends on Whether the Judgment Task is Memory-Based or On-Line" was published in Psychological Review.

On July 17:

1853 — Alexius Meinong was born. Meinong was strongly influenced by Franz Brentano and Brentano's empirical approach to philosophical psychology. Meinong founded the first Austrian experimental psychology laboratory at the University of Graz in 1884. His philosophy influenced the school of form-quality in psychology.

1902 — Carl G. Jung was awarded the MD degree by the University of Zurich. His dissertation topic was the psychology and pathology of occult phenomena.

1923 — Jeanne Humphrey Block was born. Block is best known for her cross-cultural and longitudinal research on gender role socialization. Other noteworthy contributions have explored ego development, delay of gratification, characteristics of parents of children with schizophrenia, student activism, and children with asthma.

1929 — Manfred J. Meier was born. Meier has been the foremost figure in the development of professional clinical neuropsychology. His writing has focused on temporal lobe epilepsy, basal ganglia disease, and neuropsychological rehabilitation. He was the first president of the American Board of Neuropsychology. APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, 1990.

1959 — The Archives of General Psychiatry was first published by the American Medical Association.

1992 — The first meeting of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology began at the Philosophy Institute of the University of Louvain, Belgium.

On July 18:

1880 — This is the date of the snake hallucination that resulted in the hysterical symptoms of "Anna O.," a patient of Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud.

1881 — Henri Piéron was born. Piéron was a versatile and prolific French psychologist. He promoted a behaviorally oriented psychology through research in sensation, individual differences, applied psychology, physiological psychology, and comparative psychology. He established the Institut de Psychologie at the University of Paris (1920).

1892 — Lightner Witmer passed his doctoral oral examination at the University of Leipzig under Wilhelm Wundt, receiving the grade of magna cum laude. The degree was formally awarded on March 29, 1893. Witmer was a founder of the APA and an originator of modern clinical psychology.

1918 — In a telegram to the U.S. Army chief of staff, General John J. Pershing recommended mental testing of soldiers before overseas duty. Pershing wrote, "prevalence of mental disorders in replacement troops recently received suggests urgent importance of intensive effort in eliminating mentally unfit." The telegram was a turning point in military psychology.

1921 — Aaron T. Beck was born. Beck is known for his theory and research relating to the assessment and treatment of the cognitive bases of depression and suicide. His Beck Depression Inventory is an instrument commonly used to measure the strength of depressive beliefs. APA Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology, 1989.

1959 — The newsletter of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies was first published. 

On July 19:

1878 — Walter F. Dearborn was born. Dearborn was an educational psychologist who supervised the Harvard Growth Study, a longitudinal study of 1,533 children from 1922 to 1934. Utilizing the Dearborn Group Tests of Intelligence, the study described patterns of physical growth but failed to find correlates with intellectual growth.

1896 — Samuel J. Beck was born. Beck's research, instruction, and publications centered on the reliability, validity, administration, and objective interpretation of the Rorschach Test.

1939 — Philip R. Laughlin was born. Through his service as chairperson of the Veterans Administration (VA) Psychology Representation Committee, Laughlin has been an articulate voice for excellence in psychological training and education within the VA. APA Distinguished Contribution to Education and Training in Psychology Award, 1989.

1945 — The first U.S. state law for certification or licensure of psychologists was signed by Governor Raymond Baldwin of Connecticut. Walter R. Miles of the Yale University School of Medicine chaired the first board of examiners and was the first certified psychologist. Fifty other psychologists were certified in Connecticut the first year.

1945 — Science: The Endless Frontier was published. This work was a report from physicist Vannevar Bush to President Truman, urging the formation of a single agency for federal support of scientific research. The National Science Foundation, created in 1950, was the result.

1949 — The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children was first published.

1950 — The drug Seconal (secobarbital sodium; Eli Lilly) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Secobarbital is a barbiturate and depresses activity in the central nervous system. It is used as an antianxiety agent and as a sedative.

1951 — The first Assembly of the International Union of Psychological Science was held in Stockholm. At the time the organization was named the International Union of Scientific Psychology.

1956 — Lightner Witmer died. Witmer was the last surviving founding member of the APA and the originator of modern clinical psychology.

1971 — The APA Monitor announced a trial run of the Current Research Summaries project, designed to compensate for publication lag. Readers of journal articles could request summaries of last-minute findings submitted by authors. The Journal of Counseling Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology, and Journal of Educational Psychology participated.

1971 — The APA Monitor reported the organizational meeting of the Council for the Advancement of the Psychological Professions and Sciences, a political advocacy organization, in Washington, DC. Rogers Wright was elected president.

On July 20:

1773 — Luigi Rolando was born. Rolando carried out early explorations of localization of brain functions and was among the first to electrically stimulate the brain. Many of his functional assignments are now known to be incorrect, but his influence guided research in productive directions.

1850 — Georg E. Müller was born. Müller conducted the first experimental study of attention (1873), investigated psychophysics through systematic studies of weight judgments, developed a theory of color vision, and discovered the importance of internal processes (e.g., preparatory set) that affect memory.

1885 — The first state mental hospital in Utah, Utah State Hospital, was opened for the admission of patients. The hospital was located in Provo, Utah Territory. The institution had been authorized by the territorial government on February 20, 1880. Walter Pike served as the first superintendent.

1950 — The first Annual Review of Psychology was published. Calvin P. Stone was the editor of the volume and the first article was "Growth, Development, and Decline," by Harold E. Jones and Nancy Bayley.

On July 21:

1872 — Walter B. Pillsbury, a general experimental psychologist and textbook author, was born. Pillsbury's The Essentials of Psychology (1911), The Fundamentals of Psychology (1916), and History of Psychology(1929) were well-known. APA President, 1910.

1915 — Clifford T. Morgan was born. Morgan's work focused on the physiological bases of behavior. His text Physiological Psychology (1943) was a standard for decades, and his introductory text was widely used. Morgan was a founder and the first president of the Psychonomic Society and founded and edited several of its journals.

1975 — The Wall Street Journal published an article critical of the comparative cultures component of the fifth-grade curriculum called "Man, A Course Of Study" (MACOS), devised by Jerome Bruner and funded by the National Science Foundation. The article was inserted in the Congressional Record by Senators Buckley and Beall and Representative Symms. The MACOS grant was eventually terminated.

1988 — A vote of the APA membership defeated (43% to 57%) a plan to reorganize the APA into three to five semiautonomous societies. Academic and experimental psychologists favored the plan and its defeat added strength to the dissident group that eventually became the American Psychological Society. Since 2006, the name of this society has been the Association for Psychological Science.

On July 22:

1784 — Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel was born. Bessel was an astronomer made curious by the circumstances of David Kinnebrook's dismissal at the Greenwich Observatory. He found that Kinnebrook's errors were caused by differences in individual reaction times. This began the search for the "personal equation" and the study of individual differences.

1822 — Gregor Johann Mendel was born. Mendel founded modern genetics, providing psychology with a mechanism to explain and predict the biological transmission of physical characteristics affecting behavior.

1852 — Henry R. Marshall was born. Marshall was an architect by profession but his work in aesthetics, emotion, consciousness, and instinct allied him to early American psychologists. APA President, 1907.

1881 — Augusta Fox Bronner was born. Bronner and her husband, William Healy, were instrumental in founding the first child guidance clinic, the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute, in Chicago in 1909.

1893 — Karl A. Menninger was born. Menninger, with his father and brother, founded the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. The clinic pioneered the use of psychologists in multidisciplinary psychiatric teams, and Menninger was a strong advocate for the independent professional standing of psychologists. He also developed a standardized battery of psychological assessment instruments.

1904 — Donald Olding Hebb was born. Hebb's book The Organization of Behavior constructed a system of behavior that was based on the physiology of the organism but extended to learning, motivation, perception, affect, and cognition. Hebb, a Canadian, was the only APA President (1960) who was not a citizen of the United States. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1961.

1912 — Clyde H. Coombs was born. Coombs's research resulted in the development of the field of nonmetric scaling. His work has greatly influenced progress in mathematical psychology. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1985.

1918 — Max Siegel was born. Siegel's career in private practice as a clinical psychologist was accompanied by highly respected teaching and administration in clinical psychology and school psychology. His concern for professional standards of licensure and confidentiality led to political activism. APA President, 1983.

1919 — Beatrice Cates Lacey was born. Lacey's research, with John I. Lacey, has integrated neurophysiological and psychophysiological events and theories. The relation between cardiovascular activity, attention, and sensorimotor activity has been the proving ground of their theories. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1976; American Psychological Foundation Psychological Science Gold Medal, 1985.

1924 — Frank A. Logan was born. Logan has done extensive work in learning, focusing on discrimination learning and the effects of variable amounts of reinforcement on response choice and strength.

1936 — B. F. Skinner met his future wife, Yvonne Blue, on this day.

1938 — Robert S. Woodworth wrote the foreword to the first edition of his classic text, Experimental Psychology.

1973 — Oregon's Governor Tom McCall signed into law Senate Bill 275, instituting the state's current licensure form of psychologist regulation. The law replaced regulation by credential which protected the use of the title psychologist, but did not regulate the practice itself.

1987 — President Reagan signed the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act into law. The McKinney Act provided the first comprehensive program to aid homeless people in the United States. Psychological studies of homelessness and its relation to mental illness, substance abuse, disrupted families, and child development both influenced and resulted from the act.



Searchable APA Historical Database by Date or Keyword

Street, W. R. (2007, October 4). July 13-22 in Psychology. Retrieved July 13, 2018, from the American Psychological Association Historical Database Web site at Central Washington University: