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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On June 20:

1859 — Christian von Ehrenfels was born. Ehrenfels was an Austrian philosopher who proposed in 1890 that form quality (Gestaltqualitat) is an independent element of perception. The idea set the stage for Gestalt psychology.

1930 — Carl Eisdorfer was born. Eisdorfer contributed significantly to the study of normal aging, the psychopathology of aging, and the health care of elderly individuals. He was instrumental in the early development of the National Institute on Aging. APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, 1981.

1951 — President Truman created the Psychological Strategy Board to handle American psychological warfare — propaganda, economic, and political activities — during the "cold war." The board was directed by former Secretary of the Army and University of North Carolina president Gordon Gray. The board was one of many cold war attempts to use psychological research to promote political goals.

1955 — Solomon Asch's Scientific American article "Opinions and Social Pressure," reviewing his conformity research, was published.

1961 — The experimental edition of the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA), by Samuel A. Kirk and James J. McCarthy, was published. The ITPA is used in diagnosing learning disabilities.

1979 — The U.S. Supreme Court, in its decision of Parham v. J. R., held that parents may not commit minor children to mental institutions without a finding by a neutral fact finder that institutionalization is appropriate. The case was brought on behalf of children who might have been committed because of chronic misbehavior instead of serious mental illness.


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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