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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On April 27:

1654 — The Salpêtrière asylum was founded in Paris. The asylum initially housed "undesirables" of all kinds but became, by the early 1800s, a site for the systematic and humane care of people with mental illness and mental retardation.

1820 — Herbert Spencer was born. Spencer devised a pre-Darwinian theory of evolution and coined the phrase survival of the fittest. He applied his evolutionary concepts to all human mental and behavioral phenomena, presaging American functionalism and behaviorism.

1896 — The first meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences Section on Psychology, Anthropology, and Philology was held. Sociologist Franklin H. Giddings was chair of the section, and psychologist-anthropologist Livingston Farrand was secretary. The first meetings of the New York Branch of the APA were held with the academy section's meetings, beginning in 1903.

1956 — The organizing meeting of the Mississippi Psychological Association was held. Herdis L. Deabler of Gulfport chaired the organizing committee.

1962 — The Spencer Foundation was incorporated. The Spencer Foundation supports behavioral science research related to education. The foundation was begun by a bequest from Lyle M. Spencer, the founder of Science Research Associates, Inc.

1966 — Herbert M. Lefcourt's article "Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement: A Review" was published in Psychological Bulletin. In 1979, this article was featured as a "citation classic" by the journal Current Contents.

1971 — Eleanor Jack Gibson was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Gibson was the second woman psychologist elected to the Academy. The first was Margaret Floy Washburn in 1931.

1978 — The first annual Virginia Tech Symposium of Applied Behavioral Science began in Blacksburg, Virginia.

1978 — The final report of the President's Commission on Mental Health was submitted to President Jimmy Carter by the commission's honorary president, Rosalynn Carter. Mental health program improvements had high priority in the Carter administration.

1979 — The first annual Clinical Social Work Conference on Family Therapy was held in Portsmouth, Virginia.

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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