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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On February 27:

1798 — The state of Massachusetts passed an early law providing for the involuntary commitment of any person "lunatick and so furiously mad as to render it dangerous to the peace or to the safety of the good people for such lunatick person to go at large." Earlier Massachusetts laws addressed guardianship (1676, 1694, 1784) and the determination of competence (1736) of people with mental illness.

1859 Bertha Pappenheim, Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud's "Anna O.," was born in Vienna. The treatment of Anna O.'s hysterical symptoms by the cathartic method strongly influenced the development of psychoanalysis.

1863 George Herbert Mead was born. Mead was a social philosopher important to psychology because of his view that the sense of self arises from the consequences of social interaction. This social behaviorism brought Mead's approach close to that of behavior analytic psychologists.

1921 — John J. Conger was born. Conger is a clinical psychologist whose research in child, adolescent, and adult development is reflected in his books Child Development and Personality (1956, with Paul H. Mussen) and Adolescence and Youth: Psychological Development in a Changing World (1973). APA President, 1981; APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, 1986.

1957 — The antipsychotic drug Trilafon (perphenazine; Schering) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Perphenazine is one of the phenothiazines, possibly acting by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain.

1970 — The antipsychotic drug Serentil (mesoridazine; Sandoz) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mesoridazine is a phenothiazine, acting to reduce neuronal inputs to the reticular formation and depress the activity of the hypothalamus.

1971 — The state of Montana passed its licensing law for psychologists. The law became effective on January 1, 1972.

1981 — The drug Restoril (temazepam; Sandoz Pharmaceuticals) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Temazepam is a benzodiazepine and is used as an antianxiety agent and as a sedative.

1990 — In the case of Washington v. Harper, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the state could treat mentally ill prisoners with antipsychotic drugs against their will and without a court hearing. In amicus curiae briefs, the APA opposed this policy and the American Psychiatric Association supported it.

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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