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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On June 29:

1885 — Philosopher Paul Janet proposed to the Faculty of Letters of the Sorbonne that its first course in experimental psychology be created and that Théodule Ribot be appointed to teach the course. Ribot's appointment was confirmed on July 31, 1885, and instruction began in December.

1892 — Sigmund Freud first referred to the unconscious and to unconscious motivation in a letter to Josef Breuer. Freud referred to a "second state of consciousness" that participated in a "principle of constancy." He concluded that "the psychical experiences forming the context of hysterical attacks . . . are all of them impressions which have failed to find adequate discharge."

1938 — The plan to organize the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) originated at a dinner meeting of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) during the annual meeting of the AAAS in Ottawa, Ontario. The dinner was held at 6:30 p.m. at the Chateau Laurier. The first official meeting of the CPA was held in 1940.

1959 — The antidepressant drug Nardil (phenelzine; Parke-Davis) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Phenelzine is a monamine oxidase inhibitor that increases the supply of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin by interfering with their metabolic breakdown.

1965 — Philip J. Siegmann, executive editor of Psychological Abstracts, recommended to the APA Publications Board the first use of computers in compiling Psychological Abstracts. The "Photon process" was adopted. The January 1966 issue was the first to be published using the new process instead of linotype and index cards.

1975 — The APA Board of Directors voted to join the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in sponsoring a Congressional Science Fellow, representing the interests of psychology during a legislative internship. AAAS Congressional Science Fellow Pamela Ebert, a University of Georgia specialist in visual perception, helped to persuade the board.

1983 — In its decision of Jones v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a criminal who has successfully used the insanity plea can be confined for treatment for an indeterminate length of time. In this case, Jones had been confined for 8 years after successfully pleading not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of shoplifting.

1990 — The APA signed a contract transferring publication of the Journal of Family Psychology from Sage Publications to the APA. The journal is the official journal of APA Division 43 (Family Psycholgy). The actual transfer was dated September 28, 1990.


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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