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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On May 6:

1751 — The first hospital in the American colonies to provide treatment for people with mental illness was established by the Pennsylvania Assembly. Benjamin Franklin drew up the petition to the assembly. The Pennsylvania Hospital began in 1752 in a private home until its building was completed in 1756. In the early years of the hospital, patients were chained to the walls of their basement cells. Bleeding and purging were common treatments.

1856 — Sigmund Freud was born. Freud was the most frequently cited psychologist of the twentieth century. His concepts of psychological determinism, and unconscious and emotional motivation, and his psychoanalytic method of treatment have been enduring contributions. This traditional birth date differs from town records, which give March 6, 1856, as Freud's birth date.

1904 — Elizabeth Duffy was born. Duffy initially formulated the arousal or activation theory of emotion, later brought to prominence by Magda Arnold and Donald Lindsley.

1907 — Kenneth Wartenbe Spence was born. Spence's exhaustive work defined the parameters of many factors influencing classically conditioned responses. He won the APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1956, the first year it was awarded.

1908 — The Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene, the first voluntary mental health association in the United States, was established by Clifford W. Beers and twelve others in the home of Anson Phelps Stokes, Jr., in New Haven. Beers, the author of A Mind That Found Itself, was a pivotal figure in the mental hygiene movement.

1926 — Donald E. Broadbent was born. Broadbent was an experimental and engineering psychologist whose research topics included short-term memory, choice reaction time, environmental stress, and vigilance. His filter model of selective attention was an early information-processing model of cognition. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1975.

1945 — Abraham Maslow began his "good human being" notebook, recording the characteristics of exceptionally well-adjusted college students. His hierarchical theory of self-actualization developed from these observations.

1948 — The journal Personnel Psychology was first published. G. Frederick Kuder was the editor of the journal.

1955 — The Karen Horney Clinic, a center for research, training, and low-cost treatment, was opened in New York City. The clinic was a memorial to the neo-Freudian psychoanalyst.

1960 — The Research Foundation of the National Mental Health Association was founded.

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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