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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On September 4:

1886 — Christian Ruckmick was born. Ruckmick's research touched on the physiology of hearing, emotion, the galvanic skin response, and rhythm. In addition to his academic posts, Ruckmick was a sales manager for the Stoelting Company instrument manufacturing firm and Minister for Education in Ethiopia.

1901 — Robert C. Tryon was born. Tryon completed well-known studies of behavior genetics by breeding generations of "maze-bright" and "maze-dull" rats. He formulated a theory of individual differences in maze learning. Tryon later focused on computerized cluster analysis and physical proximity of socially similar people in large urban populations.

1927 — John McCarthy was born. McCarthy is a mathematician whose work is of special importance to cognitive psychologists. He developed the computer language LISP, applied mathematical logic to computer programs that use commonsense knowledge and reasoning, and named and defined the field of artificial intelligence. National Medal of Science, 1990.

1929 — Psi Chi, the national honor society in psychology, was founded at Yale Univeristy during the Ninth International Congress of Psychology by a group of faculty and students that included Edwin B. Newman and Frederick H. Lewis. Newman was elected president. Psi Chi was first named Sigma Pi, then Sigma Pi Sigma, until it was discovered that those were names of a social fraternity and a physics society. Psi Chi was chosen as the name in 1930.

1935 — The Psychometric Society was founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Louis L. Thurstone was the first president of the organization. When the APA was reorganized in 1945, the Psychometric Society was invited to become Division 4 of the association. The Psychometric Society declined, and there is still no APA Division 4 today.

1939 — One day after England declared war on Germany, Dean R. Brimhall, psychologist and administrator of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Authority arrived at the APA convention in California to enlist the aid of psychologists in developing means of selecting the best candidates for the difficult task of airplane flight training. The resulting program involved about 30 different universities.

1953 — Eugene Aserinsky and Nathanial Kleitman first reported rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in an article titled "Regularly Occurring Periods of Eye Motility and Concomitant Phenomena During Sleep," published in Science. The article inspired the expansion of modern sleep research.

1956 — Behaviorist B. F. Skinner and humanist Carl Rogers debated the topic of control of human behavior at the 1956 APA meeting.

1956 — Division 21 of the APA (Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology) was admitted by the APA Council of Representatives. The division was originally named the Division of Engineering Psychology. An organizing committee of Karl Kryter, Harry J. Older, and Franklin V. Taylor was appointed to inaugurate the division's activities.

1956 — The first general business meeting of the Corporation of Psychologists of the Province of Quebec was held. J. S. A. Bois was honorary president of the organization and Gerald M. Mahoney was elected president.

1962 — Donald W. MacKinnon's article "The Nature and Nurture of Creative Talent" was published in the American Psychologist. In 1981, this article was featured as a "citation classic" by the journal Current Contents.

1962 — The APA Council of Representatives admitted Division 24 (Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology).

1962 — The APA Council of Representatives admitted the recreated Division 6 (Physiological and Comparative Psychology).

1966 — The petition to create APA Division 29 (Psychotherapy) was submitted. The petitioning group was Psychologists Interested in the Advancement of Psychotherapy, a section of APA Division 12 (Clinical). Hans Strupp and Reuben Fine promoted the creation of the division.

1966 — The first meeting of APA Division 27 (Community Psychology) was held.

1970 — The first APA Division 16 (School Psychology) Distinguished Service Award was awarded posthumously to Edward L. French for "innovative practice in administration of psychological services, policy determination, research, and training."

1970 — The first "open forum" meeting was held at an APA convention. The traditional reading of the reports of the treasurer and executive officer was replaced by an opportunity to address officers in a town meeting format. Women's issues such as APA office space, representation on policy-making boards, and child care at conventions dominated the first open forum.

1971 — APA President Kenneth E. Clark announced to the APA Publications and Communications Caucus the online availability of Psychological Abstracts tapes for the years 1967-1970. The service was called Psychological Abstracts Direct Access Terminal.

1971 — Senator Fred Harris (D-OK) received the American Board of Professional Psychology Award for Contributions to Psychology. Harris was a consistent supporter of social and behavioral science legislation.

1972 — The first student travel scholarships to the annual meeting of the APA sponsored by an APA division were presented by APA Division 29 (Psychotherapy). Four students were honored with the awards at the APA convention in Honolulu.

1974 — The APA Council of Representatives approved the APA's Standards for Providers of Psychological Services. Alfred M. Wellner (1970-1971) and Durrand F. Jacobs (1972-1974) chaired the standards committee. The title was changed to General Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services with the 1987 revision.

1979 — The first Edwin B. Newman Psi Chi/APA Research Awards were presented. The winners, Michael S. Fanselow of the University of Washington and Natalie P. Porter of the University of Delaware, were recognized for excellence in a graduate research project. Florence Denmark and Nicholas Cummings presented the awards.


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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