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Posts Tagged ‘1879

History of Psychology

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 First psychology laboratory
Wilhelm Wundt opens first experimental laboratory in psychology at the
University of Leipzig, Germany. Credited with establishing psychology
as an academic discipline, Wundt’s students include Emil Kraepelin,
James McKeen Cattell, and G. Stanley Hall.


 First American psychology laboratory
G. Stanley Hall, a student of Wilhelm Wundt, establishes first U.S.
experimental psychology laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.


 First doctorate in psychology
The first doctorate in psychology is given to Joseph Jastrow, a student
of G. Stanley Hall at Johns Hopkins University. Jastrow later becomes
professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin and serves as
president of the American Psychological Association in 1900.


 First professor of psychology
The academic title “professor of psychology” is given to James McKeen
Cattell in 1888, the first use of this designation in the United
States. A student of Wilhelm Wundt’s, Cattell serves as professor of
psychology at University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.


 APA founded
G. Stanley Hall founds the American Psychological Association (APA) and
serves as its first president. He later establishes two key journals in
the field: American Journal of Psychology (1887) and Journal of Applied
Psychology (1917).


Functionalism, an early school of psychology, focuses on the acts and
functions of the mind rather than its internal contents. Its most
prominent American advocates are William James and John Dewey, whose
1896 article “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology” promotes
The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, introduces the term in a
scholarly paper. Freud’s psychoanalytic approach asserts that people
are motivated by powerful, unconscious drives and conflicts. He
develops an influential therapy based on this assertion, using free
association and dream analysis.

Edward B. Titchener, a leading proponent of structuralism, publishes
his Outline of Psychology. Structuralism is the view that all mental
experience can be understood as a combination of simple elements or
events. This approach focuses on the contents of the mind, contrasting
with functionalism.

  First psychology clinic
After heading a laboratory at University of Pennsylvania, Lightner
Witmer opens world’s first psychological clinic to patients, shifting
his focus from experimental work to practical application of his


 Interpretation of Dreams
Sigmund Freud introduces his theory of psychoanalysis in The Interpretation of Dreams,
the first of 24 books he would write exploring such topics as the
unconscious, techniques of free association, and sexuality as a driving
force in human psychology.


 Manual of Experimental Psychology
With publication of the Manual of Experimental Psychology,
Edward Bradford Titchener introduces structuralism to the United
States. Structuralism, an approach which seeks to identify the basic
elements of consciousness, fades after Titchener’s death in 1927.


 First woman president of the APA
Mary Calkins is elected president of the APA. Calkins, a professor and
researcher at Wellesley College, studied with William James at Harvard
University, but Harvard denied her a Ph.D. because of her gender.


 IQ tests developed
Using standardized tests, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon develop a
scale of general intelligence on the basis of mental age. Later
researchers refine this work into the concept of intelligence quotient;
IQ, mental age over physical age. From their beginning, such tests’
accuracy and fairness are challenged.


 A Mind That Found Itself
Clifford Beers publishes A Mind That Found Itself,
detailing his experiences as a patient in 19th-century mental asylums.
Calling for more humane treatment of patients and better education
about mental illness for the general population, the book inspires the
mental hygiene movement in the United States.


 Psychoanalysts visit Clark University
Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung visit the United States for a
Psychoanalysis Symposium at Clark University organized by G. Stanley
Hall. At the symposium, Freud gives his only speech in the United


John B. Watson publishes “Psychology as Behavior,” launching
behaviorism. In contrast to psychoanalysis, behaviorism focuses on
observable and measurable behavior.


 Army intelligence tests implemented
Standardized intelligence and aptitude tests are administered to two
million U. S. soldiers during WWI. Soon after, such tests are used in
all U.S. armed forces branches and in many areas of civilian life,
including academic and work settings.


 First African American doctorate in psychology
Francis Cecil Sumner earns a Ph.D. in psychology under G. Stanley Hall
at Clark University. Sumner later serves as chair of the Howard
University psychology department.
 The Child’s Conception of the World
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget publishes The Child’s Conception of the World, prompting the study of cognition in the developing child.


 Rorschach test created
Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devises a personality test based on patients’ interpretations of inkblots.


 Menninger Clinic founded
Charles Frederick Menninger and his sons Karl Augustus and William
Clair found The Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. They take a
compassionate approach to the treatment of mental illness, emphasizing
both psychological and psychiatric disciplines.


 Menninger Clinic founded
First Nobel Prize for psychological research


 Electroencephalogram invented
Psychiatrist Hans Berger invents the electroencephalogram and tests it
on his son. The device graphs the electrical activity of the brain by
means of electrodes attached to the head.


 Nazi persecution of psychologists
After the Nazi party gains control of the government in Germany,
scholars and researchers in psychology and psychiatry are persecuted.
Many, including Freud, whose books are banned and burned in public
rallies, move to Britain or the United States.


 Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is founded by Bob Smith of Akron, Ohio. AA’s
group meetings format and 12-step program become the model for many
other mutual-support therapeutic groups.
 Gestalt psychology
Kurt Koffka, a founder of the movement, publishes Principles of Gestalt
Psychology in 1935. Gestalt (German for “whole” or “essence”)
psychology asserts that psychological phenomena must be viewed not as
individual elements but as a coherent whole.


 First lobotomy in the United States
Walter Freeman performs first frontal lobotomy in the United States at
George Washington University in Washington, D.C. By 1951, more than
18,000 such operations have been performed. The procedure, intended to
relieve severe and debilitating psychosis, is controversial.


 The Neurotic Personality of Our Time
Psychologist Karen Horney publishes The Neurotic Personality of Our Time.
Horney goes on to challenge many of Freud’s theories, as have many
later psychologists and scholars. Specifically, she questions Freud’s
theories on the Oedipal Complex and castration anxiety.


 The Behavior of Organisms
B.F. Skinner publishes The Behavior of Organisms,
introducing the concept of operant conditioning. The work draws
widespread attention to behaviorism and inspires laboratory research on
 Electroconvulsive therapy begun
Italian psychiatrist and neuropathologist Ugo Cerletti and his
associates treat human patients with electrical shocks to alleviate
schizophrenia and psychosis. ECT, while controversial, is proven
effective in some cases and is still in use in 2001.


 The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children
Anna Freud publishes The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children,
introducing basic concepts in the theory and practice of child
 National Mental Health Act Passed
U.S. President Harry Truman signs the National Mental Health Act,
providing generous funding for psychiatric education and research for
the first time in U.S. history. This act leads to the creation in 1949
of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).


 First drug to treat depression
Studies are published reporting that the drug imipramine may be able to
lessen depression. Eight years later, the FDA approves its use in the
United States under the name Tofranil.


 Thorazine tested
The anti-psychotic drug chlorpromazine (known as Thorazine) is tested
on a patient in a Paris military hospital. Approved for use in the
United States in 1954, it becomes widely prescribed.


 APA Ethical Standards
The American Psychological Association publishes the first edition of Ethical Standards of Psychologists. The document undergoes continuous review and is now known as APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.


 Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy…
In Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain,
neurosurgeon Wilder G. Penfield publishes results from his study of the
neurology of epilepsy. His mapping of the brain’s cortex sets a
precedent for the brain-imaging techniques that become critical to
biopsychology and cognitive neuroscience.
  The Nature of Prejudice
Social Psychologist Gordon Allport publishes The Nature of Prejudice,
which draws on various approaches in psychology to examine prejudice
through different lenses. It is widely read by the general public and
influential in establishing psychology’s usefulness in understanding
social issues.
In his studies of epilepsy, neuroscientist Wilder G. Penfield begins to
uncover the relationship between chemical activity in the brain and
psychological phenomena. His findings set the stage for widespread
research on the biological role in psychological phenomena.
The development of psychoactive drugs in the 1950s and their approval
by the FDA initiates a new form of treatment for mental illness. Among
the first such drugs is Doriden, also known as Rorer, an anti-anxiety
medication approved in 1954.
  Humanistic Psychology
In the wake of psychoanalysis and behaviorism, humanistic psychology
emerges as the “third force” in psychology. Led by Carl Rogers and
Abraham Maslow, who publishes Motivation and Personality in 1954, this
approach centers on the conscious mind, free will, human dignity, and
the capacity for self-actualization.


 Cognitive psychology
Inspired by work in mathematics and other disciplines, psychologists
begin to focus on cognitive states and processes. George A. Miller’s
1956 article “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two” on
information processing is an early application of the cognitive


 Syntactic Structures
Noam Chomsky publishes Syntactic Structures,
marking a major advancement in the study of linguistics. The book helps
spawn the field of psycholinguistics, the psychology of language.


 FDA approves Librium
The FDA approves the use of chlordiazepoxide (known as Librium) for
treatment of non-psychotic anxiety in 1960. A similar drug, diazepam
(Valium), is approved in 1963.


 Community Mental Health Centers Act passed
U.S. President John F. Kennedy calls for and later signs the Community
Mental Health Centers Act, which mandates the construction of community
facilities instead of large, regional mental hospitals. Congress ends
support for the program in 1981, reducing overall funds and folding
them into a mental health block-grant program.


 First National Medal of Science to psychologist
Neal E. Miller receives the National Medal of Science, the highest
scientific honor given in the United States, for his studies of
motivation and learning. He is the first psychologist to be awarded
this honor.


 FDA approves Lithium
The FDA approves lithium carbonate to treat patients with bipolar mood
disorders. It is marketed under the trade names Eskalith, Lithonate,
and Lithane.


 Homosexuality removed from DSM
After intense debate, the American Psychiatric Association removes
homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM). The widely used reference manual is revised to state
that sexual orientation “does not necessarily constitute a psychiatric


 PET scanner tested
A new brain scanning technique, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), is
tested. By tracing chemical markers, PET maps brain function in more
detail than earlier techniques.


 Evolutionary psychology
Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene, which begins to popularize
the idea of evolutionary psychology. This approach applies principles
from evolutionary biology to the structure and function of the human
brain. It offers new ways of looking at social phenomena such as
aggression and sexual behavior.
 The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene,
a work which shifts focus from the individual animal as the unit of
evolution to individual genes themselves. The text popularizes the
field of evolutionary psychology, in which knowledge and principles
from evolutionary biology are applied in research on human brain


 Standardized IQ tests found discriminatory
The U.S. District Court finds the use of standardized IQ tests in
California public schools illegal. The decision in the case, Larry P.
v. Wilson Riles, upholds the plaintiff’s position that the tests
discriminate against African American students.


 AIDS and HIV first diagnosed
The epidemic of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection presents mental health
professionals with challenges ranging from at-risk patients’ anxiety
and depression to AIDS-related dementia.


 Insanity Defense Reform Act passed
U.S. Congress revises federal law on the insanity defense, partly in
response to the acquittal of John Hinckley, Jr. of charges of attempted
assassination after he had shot President Ronald Reagan. The act places
burden of proof for the insanity defense on the defendant.


 Homeless Assistance Act passed
The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act provides the first
federal funds allocated specifically for the homeless population. The
act includes provisions for mental health services, and responds, in
part, to psychological studies on homelessness and mental disorders.
 Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft made available
The FDA approves the new anti-depressant medication fluoxetine,
(Prozac). The drug, and other similar medications, acts on
neurotransmitters, specifically, serotonin. It is widely prescribed and
attracts attention and debate.


 Cultural psychology
In Acts of Meaning, Four Lectures on Mind and Culture, Jerome Bruner
helps formulate cultural psychology, an approach drawing on philosophy,
linguistics, and anthropology. Refined and expanded by Hazel Markus and
other researchers, cultural psychology focuses on the influences and
relationship among mind, cultural community and behavior.


 Sequencing of the Human Genome
Sixteen public research institutions around the world complete a
“working draft” mapping of the human genetic code, providing a research
basis for a new understanding of human development and disease. A
similar, privately funded, project is currently underway.
The latest revision of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders (DSM) is published in a version for personal digital
assistants (PDAs). The manual, first published in 1954, outlines
prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders. Only 132
pages on first printing, in 2000 it was 980 pages.