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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On December 16:

1820 — Königsberg astronomer Friedrich Bessel made the first of his "personal equation" observations on this night. Intrigued by the dismissal of British astronomer David Kinnebrook for observations disagreeing with those of Kinnebrook's superior's, Bessel found individual differences in reaction times and began the study of reaction times and mental chronometry that continues today.

1901 — Margaret Mead was born. Mead introduced the American public to cultural anthropology through her field studies of primitive societies. Her evidence on the cultural sources of personality, child rearing standards, and gender roles continues to influence developmental and social psychologists.

1905 — In a letter to William James, Edward L. Thorndike offered to assist in writing a revised version of James's Psychology: Briefer Course. Thorndike's suggestion was politely declined by James in a letter written the next day.

1940 — Robert J. Resnick was born. Resnick's research in child clinical psychology has focused on attention deficit disorders and the adjustment of children to medical procedures. In the 1970s, his successful antitrust suit against Virginia Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the right of professional psychologists to receive direct payment for their services. APA President, 1995.

1943 — Gary VandenBos was born. His interests have been in professional psychology and psychotherapy. VandenBos has actively promoted the independent status of psychological providers and has presided over the growth of the APA's book publications in psychology. APA Acting Chief Executive Officer, 1988-1989.

1954 — The manual for the Edwards Personal Preference Survey (EPPS) was published. The EPPS has been a widely used personality test, designed to measure a number of motivating needs, such as the needs for achievement, affiliation, and aggression.

1954 — The Southwestern Psychological Association (SWPA) became an affiliate organization of the APA. The SWPA was holding its second annual meeting in Oklahoma City at the time and received the news in a telegram from APA executive secretary Fillmore H. Sanford.

1966 — Aldridge Bousfield and Weston Bousfield's article "Measurements of Clustering and of Sequential Constancies in Repeated Free Recall" was published in Psychological Reports. In 1979, this article was chosen as a "citation classic" by the journal Current Contents.

1971 — The Institute of Psychology of the USSR Academy of Sciences was founded by Resolution 1076 of the Academy of Sciences Presidium. The USSR Council of Ministers had authorized the institute on December 6, 1971, with Decree 2602. Boris Fiodorovitch Lomov was appointed the first director of the institute.

1992 — The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered the APA to cease enforcement of portions of its Ethical Principles of Psychologists. The order lifted APA prohibitions against truthful advertising that presented comparisons of services, claims of unique services, appeals to emotions or fears, and personal testimonials. The order became final on December 27, 1992.

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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