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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On February 16:

1822Sir Francis Galton was born. Galton's broad research interests included the study of individual differences, heritability of traits, statistics, and the invention of psychometric apparatuses. He is often cited as a founder of systematic methods of psychological measurement. At his Anthropometric Laboratory, founded in 1882, Galton compiled physical and mental measurements of hundreds of volunteers, yielding the first normative data on human traits.

1850 — John Bovee Dods lectured the U.S. Congress on "electrical psychology," Dods's version of mesmerism. Dods had recently completed a popular series of lectures in Boston. Senators Sam Houston, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster were among those inviting Dods to address Congress, in a letter dated February 12, 1850. Dods believed "electricity to be the connecting link between mind and inert matter," the "grand agent employed by the Creator to move and govern the universe." When Walt Whitman wrote "I Sing the Body Electric," he was referring to Dods's electrical psychology.

1921 — Harold H. Kelley was born. Kelley is a social psychologist who has focused on the processes of interpersonal perception and relationships in small groups. With John Thibaut, Kelley provided a comprehensive theory of social exchange. Kelley's theory of factors influencing causal inferences has stimulated much research. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1971.

1922 — Cecil Peck was born. After World War II, Peck earned one of the first doctoral degrees in clinical psychology in a Veterans Administration (VA) training program. In regional and national positions, he went on to guide and unify the psychological services of the VA through the 1950s and 1960s. APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, 1984

1945 — The APA Journal Committee recommended publishing American Psychologist. The new journal was to take over publication of association activities, previously reported in Psychological Bulletin.

1988 — Psychologist Richard C. Atkinson became president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the first psychologist in 54 years to hold the office. James McKeen Cattell (1924) and Edward L. Thorndike (1934) were earlier presidents of the AAAS.


Copyright © 1995, American Psychological Association. Web version by permission. Source: Street, W. R. (1994). A Chronology of Noteworthy Events in American Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. The American Psychological Association and Central Washington University have supported the development of the APA Historical Database.

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