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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On May 27:

1766 — Franz Anton Mesmer published his thesis titled "De Planetarum Influxu," in which he proposed a relationship between the magnetic forces of the planets and the human nervous system. Mesmer earned his MD degree from the University of Vienna in this same year and went on to develop a practice based on the manipulation of magnetic forces, or "Mesmerism."

1818 — Franciscus Cornelius Donders was born. Donders was one of the early researchers in mental chronometry, using reaction time as an index of mental processes and individual differences.

1874 — Shepherd Ivory Franz was born. Franz pioneered studies of cortical localization of learned behaviors. Through extirpation of brain tissue, Franz showed that impaired abilities could be regained and that the amount of impairment was not closely related to the site or amount of lost brain tissue. APA President, 1920.

1879 — Karl Bühler was born. Bühler, a member of the Würzburg school of imageless thought, studied introspective accounts of complex problem solving. His studies of child development with Charlotte Bühler were among the first systematic studies in developmental psychology.

1913 Carl Pfaffmann was born. Pfaffmann's career was dedicated to careful and exhaustive exploration of the physiology, neurology, and motivating properties of the sense of taste. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1963.

1920 — Hermann Rorschach signed a publishing contract with Bircher, of Bern, Switzerland, for 1,200 copies of Psychodiagnostik, the book explaining his inkblot interpretation technique. Bircher was the eighth publisher to consider the material and agreed to publish it only if the number of cards was reduced from Rorschach's 15 to the set of 10 now considered the standard set.

1963 — The Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia held its first annual meeting. D. N. W. Doig was elected president. F. H. Page and Wesley H. Coons had served as presidents of the association before this first annual meeting was held.

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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