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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On March 20:

1904 B. F. Skinner was born. Skinner's radical behaviorism provided a systematic analysis of the effects of consequences on behavior. His principles of instrumental conditioning affected nearly every field of psychology. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1958; National Medal of Science, 1968; APA Citation for Lifetime Contributions to Psychology, 1990.

1905 — Raymond B. Cattell was born. Cattell developed a factor analytic theory of personality that led to the development of the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire. In his work with the nature of intelligence, Cattell distinguished between "fluid" and "crystallized" intelligence. He produced one of the early culture-fair tests of intelligence.

1922 — Physiological psychologist Henri Piéron began a series of paranormal phenomenon experiments at the Sorbonne. The popular newspaper L'Opinion had urged that studies be done to see whether a spiritual medium, Eva Carrière, could produce ectoplasm under controlled conditions. Ectoplasm, said to be a vapor in the shape of a person, living or dead, was not observed during the studies.

1924 — The Virginia Assembly passed a statute allowing sexual sterilization of institutionalized persons suffering from "hereditary forms of insanity that are recurrent, idiocy, imbecility, feeble-mindedness, or epilepsy." The law was one of several eugenic sterilization laws adopted by individual states.

1926 — The first paper on the use of a teaching machine was published by Sidney Pressey in School and Society. Pressey's teaching machine had been demonstrated at the APA's annual meeting in Washington, DC, in 1924.

1927 — Michael Wertheimer was born. Wertheimer has specialized in study and teaching of the history and systems of psychology. American Psychological Foundation Distinguished Teaching in Psychology Award, 1983; APA Award for Distinguished Career Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology, 1990.

1949 — In a letter to President Harry S Truman, the APA Board of Directors protested the vigorous application of Truman's Executive Order 9855, requiring loyalty oaths of federal employees and empowering local "loyalty boards" to investigate individuals suspected of disloyalty to the United States. The APA did not, however, protest the executive order's abridgement of civil rights.

1958 — The Dutch Society of Group Psychotherapy was founded. The first scientific meeting was held May 16, 1958.

1959 — Utah's Governor Clyde signed that state's original psychologist certification legislation. Utah was the 14th state to pass regulatory legislation for the professional practice of psychology.

1964 — The petition to create APA Division 25 (Experimental Analysis of Behavior) was submitted. B. F. Skinner promoted the formation of the division.

1969 — The APA Publications Board and APA Council of Editors approved the use of metric measurements in APA journals, beginning in 1970.

1987 — Thomas M. Achenbach, Stephanie H. McConaughy, and Catherine T. Howell's article "Child/Adolescent Behavioral and Emotional Problems: Implications of Cross-Informant Correlations for Situational Specificity" was published in Psychological Bulletin.

1987 — Richard K. Wagner and Joseph K. Torgesen's article "The Nature of Phonological Processing and Its Causal Role in the Acquisition of Reading Skills" was published in Psychological Bulletin.


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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