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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On April 15:

1817 — The first school for deaf people in the United States opened in Hartford, Connecticut. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was the founder and served as superintendent until 1830.

1858 — Emile Durkheim was born. Durkheim was a French sociologist best remembered by psychologists for his theory of the social causes of suicide. Durkheim tended to emphasize the separation between sociology and psychology.

1858 — Millicent Washburn Shinn was born. Shinn was the first woman to earn the PhD at the University of California. She was best known for her observational studies of a single infant, her niece, first published in 1893 and later as a popular book, The Biography of a Baby (1900).

1880 — Max Wertheimer was born. Wertheimer was a founder of Gestalt psychology and is remembered for investigating the phenomenon of apparent movement known as the phi phenomenon, for describing the Gestalt laws of perceptual organization, and for introducing the study of cognitive processes in his book, Productive Thinking.

1902 — James McKeen Cattell received the first grant by the Carnegie Institution to a psychologist. Cattell was given $1,000 to "prepare a list of the scientific men of the United States," a publication that became the modern American Men and Women of Science. The first grant for experimental psychology was made later to Edward W. Scripture to study the sounds of human speech.

1907 — Nikolaas Tinbergen was born. Tinbergen earned the Nobel prize in 1973 with his ethological studies of innate behavior dispositions and their releasing stimuli. His later work included studies of childhood autism. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1987.

1913 — Barbel Inhelder was born. Inhelder was Jean Piaget's primary collaborator and the successor to his chair at the University of Geneva and his lines of theoretical development. Her primary investigations have been in the child's understanding of conservation, conceptions of space and geometry, and the stage of formal operations.

1922 Stanley Schachter was born. Schachter's prolific studies in social psychology have provided findings of major importance about the psychology of small-group processes, social and cognitive influences on emotion, obesity, affiliation, and economic decision making. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1969.

1925 — The Amherst (Virginia) County Court ruled that Carrie Buck, institutionalized for "feeble-mindedness," should be sexually sterilized. The Carrie Buck case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the Virginia decision in 1927. The case provided a test of eugenic sterilization laws found in some states.

1927 — In a letter to Shammai Feldman, Edward B. Titchener gave his advice on chairing a psychology department: "Give your decisions quickly and never give your reasons for them. Treat the youngsters kindly, but keep them busy. Have a seminary, if you like, and pool results. Pray without ceasing."

1932 — The Psychoanalytic Quarterly was first published.

1955 — George A. Kelly's book The Psychology of Personal Constructs was published.

1957 — The state of Maryland approved its psychologist licensure law. The law became effective on July 1, 1957.

1963 — Richard M. Cyert and James G. March's book A Behavioral Theory of the Firm was published. When this book was featured as a "citation classic" by the journal Current Contents in 1979, it had been cited in over 770 other publications.

1967 — Governor Docking of Kansas signed that state's psychologist certification law. The law took effect on July 1, 1967, and the first meeting of the board of examiners was held in Topeka on August 27. James Hartman of Wichita was chosen first chairman of the board.

1975 — Richard F. Thompson's text Introduction to Physiological Psychology was published.

1988 — A psychologist was accused in the first formal criminal charge of falsifying scientific data. Stephen E. Breuning of the Polk Center in Polk, Pennsylvania, was charged with submitting fraudulent research results in an National Institute of Mental Health grant application for over $200,000. On September 19, 1988, he pled guilty to the charges.

1991 — The Library Journal named Psycoloquy, an electronic journal sponsored by the APA, one of the best new magazines of 1990.

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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