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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On September 10:

1785 — The first documented use of the term social science occurred on this date in a letter written by John Adams, later president of the United States.

1839 — Charles S. Peirce was born. Peirce is best known for founding American pragmatism but by many accounts, Peirce was the first American empirical psychologist. His experimental work examined color vision and difference thresholds. He was the first psychologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

1885 — In his presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Aberdeen, Scotland, Sir Francis Galton first described the phenomenon of regression toward the mean. Galton supported his presentation with data from the weights of parent and offspring sweet pea seeds and the average heights of human parents and heights of their adult offspring. Galton called the phenomenon "regression toward mediocrity."

1863 — Charles E. Spearman was born. By studying correlations of intelligence task scores, Spearman proposed two factors: general intelligence (g), and specific abilities (s). The existence and nature of factors of intelligence continue to interest psychologists. He developed the Spearman rank-order correlation coefficient, the Spearman-Brown reliability coefficient, and early factor analysis procedures.

1903 — Clifford W. Beers was discharged from the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane, at Middletown, Connecticut, bringing to an end 3 years of care in three institutions. Beers later wrote A Mind That Found Itself, describing the treatment he had received during this time. The book became a founding document of the mental hygiene movement of the 1920s and 1930s. The hospital is now named Connecticut Valley Hospital.

1909 — The famous group picture of those attending the Clark University 20th anniversary conference was taken. The picture included Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, William James, A. A. Brill, G. Stanley Hall, Bronislaw Malinowski, and Ernest Jones.

1909 — Sigmund Freud received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Clark University. This was the only honorary degree he ever received.

1923 — Donald R. Peterson was born. He was the cofounder and first director of the first PsyD program of clinical psychology training in the United States at the University of Illinois (1968). The PsyD offered an alternative to research-oriented clinical training. APA Distinguished Professional Contributions Award, 1983; APA Distinguished Education and Training Contributions Award, 1989.

1932 — B. F. Skinner made his first paper presentation to an APA convention. The paper was titled "The Rate of Establishment of a Discrimination" and was read in Room C of Goldwin Smith Hall at Cornell University shortly after 3:00 p.m. This room was also Edward B. Titchener's lecture room during his many years at Cornell.

1947 — The first APA standards for training clinical psychologists were accepted by the APA Council of Representatives. The standards, called the Shakow Report, were written by the APA Committee on Training in Clinical Psychology, chaired by David Shakow and formed in response to a request by the Public Health Service and the Veterans Administration for professional criteria.

1969 — Robert R. Carkhuff's Helping and Human Relations: A Primer for Lay and Professional Helpers was published.

1991 — PSY-PUB, an open access Internet account at the USSR Institute of Psychology, was begun, providing international electronic mail access to Soviet psychologists. Alexandra V. Belyaeva, director of the institute's Vega Laboratory, and Michael Cole, of the University of California, San Diego, were instrumental in inaugurating this communications link.


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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