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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On March 9:

1758 Franz Joseph Gall was born. Gall was a medical doctor who identified the functional differences between white and gray matter in the brain. He later developed his suspicions about the relation between head shape and personality into systematic phrenology. Although largely a pseudoscience, phrenology spurred interest in the study of brain localization.

1892 — Raymond Wheeler was born. Wheeler defended and modified Gestalt psychology. With F. Theodore Perkins, he demonstrated stimulus relational set learning in lower animals. Wheeler and Perkins's Principles of Mental Development (1932) was a widely used educational psychology text in its day.

1907 — The first U.S. eugenic sterilization law was enacted by the Indiana legislature. The law provided for sterilization of "confirmed criminals, idiots, imbeciles, and rapists." The law was invalidated by the Indiana State Supreme Court in 1921 but replaced by another in 1923.

1921 — Jane W. Kessler was born. Kessler developed an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to the treatment of children with mental retardation and emotional disorders. She was the first director of the Case Western Reserve Mental Development Center. APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, 1981.

1949 — APA Division 6 (Physiological-Comparative) and Division 3 (Theoretical-Experimental) voted 243 to 25 to combine to form the Division of Experimental Psychology (Division 3). The union lasted until 1962, when Division 6 was reestablished, retaining its original emphasis.

1953 — Suzanne Langer's book Feeling and Form, a landmark in aesthetic psychology, was published.

1973 — In an article in Science, Candace Pert and Solomon Snyder of the Johns Hopkins Medical School announced the first biochemical identification of opiate receptors in the brain. Eric Simon (New York University) and Lars Terenius (Uppsala University) are credited with concurrent discovery. Discovery of the brain's natural opioides, or endorphins, followed in 1975.

1983 — The APA's Journal of Comparative Psychology was first published. Jerry Hirsch was the journal's editor. This journal and Behavioral Neuroscience were created by a division of the former Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology (JCPP). Interestingly, the JCPP was first published in 1921 under the title of the Journal of Comparative Psychology.

1985 — The first annual meeting of the Society of Psychologists in Management was held in Tampa, Florida.

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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