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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

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.

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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