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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On February 5:

1772 — Pierre Laplace presented his first paper on probability to the French Academy of Sciences.

1857 — Franz (Carl) Müller-Lyer was born. Müller-Lyer was primarily a sociologist but, in 1889, he devised the visual illusion with which his name is usually associated.

1881 — At a public Harvard Lecture in Boston, G. Stanley Hall presented data linking adolescence and religious conversion. This early observation might have been the first reported evidence in the scientific study of the psychology of religion.

1901 — Henry Nissen was born. A comparative psychologist, Nissen was the first to conduct experimental studies of the chimpanzee, beginning in the 1920s. His studies on sensory deprivation were among the first in that area and used chimpanzees as subjects.

1924 — John B. Watson and William McDougall's "Battle of Behaviorism" debate, sponsored by the Psychological Club of Washington, DC, was held in the D.A.R. Memorial Constitutional Hall. McDougall was declared the winner of this debate that pitted his hereditarian position against Watson's environmental behaviorism.

1963 — In the first special presidential message on mental health, President Kennedy called on Congress to establish a national network of community mental health centers and a national program for prevention, service, and research in mental retardation. The Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Amendment and the Community Mental Health Centers Act were passed later in the year.

1975 — The California Board of Education declared a moratorium on the use of intelligence tests for placement of students into programs for the educable mentally retarded. The action followed the California Supreme Court's decision in Larry P. v. Wilson Riles (1979) that racial bias resulted from the practice. The same case had earlier been made for Hispanic students in Diana v. State Board of Education (February 3, 1970).

1980 — The Association for Behavior Analysis International was formed from the Midwestern Association for Behavior Analysis.

1980 — Psi Beta, the national honor society in psychology for community and junior colleges, admitted its first chapter, Northampton County Area Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

1982 — The Association for Media Psychology, now APA Division 46, was founded in San Diego.

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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