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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On December 15:

1850 — Hermann von Helmholtz reported the results of his experiments on the propogation speed of sensory nerves in humans to the Physical Society in Berlin. His estimate was a speed of about 61 m/s.

1908 — G. Stanley Hall wrote to Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Wundt, inviting each to deliver lectures as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Clark University in July 1909. Freud and Wundt both declined this invitation, but Freud accepted a later (February 16, 1909) invitation in which Hall changed the date to September and increased Freud's honorarium.

1926 — Russell De Valois was born. De Valois undertook extensive research on primate color vision and pattern discrimination. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1977.

1941 — The National Council of Women Psychologists (NCWP) was founded. The group was formed to promote the government services of women psychologists during World War II. Gladys C. Schwesinger was the first executive secretary of the group. After the war, the NCWP changed its name to the International Council of Psychologists.

1949 — S. S. Stevens was appointed chair of the National Research Council Division of Anthropology and Psychology.

1955 — The first computer program to simulate human problem solving, written by Herbert Simon and Allen Newell, completed its first hand simulation run. The program simulated heuristic problem solving of the proof of Theorem 2.15 in the Principia Mathematica of Whitehead and Russell.

1959 — Lloyd M. Dunn and Leota M. Dunn's Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test was published.

1967 — The first version of the Wide Range Achievement Test was published by Joseph Jastak, Sidney Bijou, and Sarah Jastak.

1969 — The Arkansas Psychological Association was incorporated.

1970 — The organizing meeting of the Jean Piaget Society was held. The idea for the society was first advanced by Lois Macomber of Temple University. Macomber was also the first president of the association.

1971 — U.S. Representative Cornelius Gallagher took the floor of the House to attack federal grant support of B. F. Skinner while Skinner wrote Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Gallagher evoked an image of a society whose citizens are conditioned by "an elite, composed of mirror-images of Dr. Skinner, who will make this choice so absolutely essential to our future."

1973 — The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' list of psychiatric disorders. The nomenclature was revised to "sexual orientation disturbance," which "by itself, does not necessarily constitute a psychiatric disorder."

1978 — The first meeting of the APA Ad Hoc Committee on Minority Affairs was held. The resulting APA Office of Ethnic and Cultural Affairs opened in January 1979, with Esteban Olmedo as its first director.

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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