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A Shamelessly Awesome History of Modern Psychology

By Jer
  • Meditations on First Philosophy is completed by René Descartes

    Meditations on First Philosophy is completed by René Descartes
    An Enlightenment Era publishment, René Descartes founded the idea of mind-body dualism; a perspective that dominated how humanity was to view itself for centuries. This is the idea that the mind is an entirely separate entity than the physical body, and that this intangible 'mind' is like a ghost, merely driving the body like a vehicle. The theme of "soul" as the psychological entity is strong in this philosophy, and is inspired from early Grecian thinkers such as Plato.
  • William Tuke opens the York Retreat

    William Tuke opens the York Retreat
    The York Retreat is the first asylum that treats the mentally ill humanely. Tuke allows patients to move around unchained, and forbids physical punishment towards those receiving treatment. He encourages patients to engage in activities, such as gardening, and also focuses on their social and spirital wellbeing. The York Retreat remains operational today, and Tuke's model of an asylum that actively engages it's patients humanely became the cornerstone of modern mental health institutions.
  • Franz Joseph Gall Introduces Phrenology

    Franz Joseph Gall Introduces Phrenology
    Phrenology is the attribution of psychological functions as being circumsribed into 35 'organs of the mind.' Individuals could have their personalitiy traits deduced by having a phrenologist measure the topographies of skull shape. In the mid 19th centruy the scientific community offically regarded the practice of phrenology a pseudoscience. However, phrenology is an important precursor to Functionalism (which was to flourish later) and the beginnings of brain localization!
  • 'An Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain' is released by Charles Bell

    'An Idea of a New Anatomy of the Brain' is released by Charles Bell
    The original work was only privately circulated, a mere 100 copies, before a larger release in 1821. What Bell reported was a dissociation between motor nerves and sensory nerves. Not only did he discover the separate function but also the anatomy of their pathways (dorsal spinal - sensory pathway; ventral - motor). Although he assumed each nerve type had a unique energy substrate (see Müller, and Helmholtz), this discovery has been considered the foundation of clinical psychology.
  • Jean Flourens pioneers experimental method of localized brain lesions

    Jean Flourens pioneers experimental method of localized brain lesions
    Jean Flourens is known as the “father” of ablation. He diid not agree that function was localized in the brain but instead believed it was distributed throughout. To test this he developed a method to lesion specific brain areas of animals and observed the behavioural effects it had. His findings included that the cerebral hemispheres were responsible for higher order functions, the cerebellum was necessary for equilibrium and motor control, and the medulla controlled vital functions for living.
  • John Stuart Mill publishes Analysis of the Phaenomena of the Human Mind

    John Stuart Mill publishes Analysis of the Phaenomena of the Human Mind
    Mill’s paper equalized the study of the mind to that of physical sciences where the mind is made up of smaller units, like elements, and that consciousness arises from association formation. Yet, Mill asserts that the mind as a whole is greater than the sum of its units summed. This work lays the foundation for the structuralism stance. Wundt uses Mill’s ideas when developing his later theories of consciousness (eg. apperception) and to the development of introspection.
  • Johannes P. Müller proposes the Docterine of Specific Nerve Energies

    Johannes P. Müller proposes the Docterine of Specific Nerve Energies
    Taking from previous work (Bell, 1811) which had previously suggested nerve specificity, Müller further describes and develops biological sensory perception. The Doctrine of Nerve Specificity (DOS) declared that the origin of a stimuli was not important to an experience. Instead of the universal electro-chemical propagation we accept today, DOS claimed that each sense was evoked by the quality of energy of a nerve pathway. This was a precursor for materialistic psychology (see Helmholtz).
  • Phineas Gage falls victim to a tamping iron

    Phineas Gage falls victim to a tamping iron
    Gage was the unfortunate victim of an accident where an iron rod bore a hole in his head from the side of his face, passing behind his eye and exiting the top of his skull. This resulted in the loss of most of his left frontal lobe. This resulted in noticeable mental changes, primarily to his personality and associated behaviour. This suggested that specific brain areas (i.e. frontal lobe) played a role in personality and behaviour and influenced future debate on localization of function.
  • Speed of Nerve Propogation by Helmholtz

    Speed of Nerve Propogation by Helmholtz
    Hermann von Helmholtz in 1850, began studying propagation speeds of nerves and how they compared with the propagation speed in the nerves of frogs. This was the beginning of what would later be named neurophysiology, but much more importantly he discovered that participants needed to focus on the current task at hand or the propagation of signals appeared to take longer, making this one of the first studies of attention on psychological grounds.
  • Walter Cooper Dendy "psycho-therapeia"

    Walter Cooper Dendy "psycho-therapeia"
    Talking therapies had existed in europe as early as the 17th century, long before that even according to some greek records. However, exclusive practitioners have been few and far between since the last few centuries. It was this english psychiatrist who first coined a term, "psycho-therapeia," which would prove to be the banner under which psychologists would eventually rally under and be identified with: the field and art of modern "psychotherapy," of which Freud soon popularized.
  • Fechner publishes Elemente der Psychophysik

    Fechner publishes Elemente der Psychophysik
    Gustav Fechner publishes Elemente der Psychophysik, in which he describes Fechner’s Law that states “In order that the intensity of a sensation may increase in arithmetical progression, the stimulus must increase in geometrical procession”. This work establishes the idea that the processes of the mind can be measured in a quantitative manner. It also allows for future researchers such as Wilhelm Wundt, to solidly the establishment of the scientific method in the study of psychology.
  • Paul Broca validates the importance of the left frontal lobe in language

    Paul Broca validates the importance of  the left frontal lobe in language
    Broca was a member of a society that defended the localization of brain function. Subsequently, he was able to find ‘Tan’, a patient with severe difficulties producing language. When ‘Tan’ died, Broca preformed an autopsy to discover a lesion in the left frontal lobe. Twelve similar patients corroborated this discovery. Broca thus became one of the first to (a) differentiate function between the left and right hemispheres and (b) suggest specific functions within certain brain areas.
  • Claude Bernard and 'An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine'

    Claude Bernard  and 'An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine'
    Claude Bernard was a french phsyiologist as well a theorist concerned with the scientific method. Claude Bernard coined the term 'milieu intérieur,' which later was reiterated by Walter Cannon as homeostasis. In addition to defining the role of internal states (which is a fundamental principle in both medicine and psychology) Bernard was also the inventor of the 'blind experiment,' a substantially powerful method now used universally to control psychological confound effects in experimentation.
  • Donders simple and choice reaction tasks

    Donders simple and choice reaction tasks
    Franciscus Cornelis Donders reaction speed experiments were revolutionary. In 1865 he showed that using a simple timing apparatus, you could calculate the reaction speed of humans and the time it takes for them to make a choice which he calculated by using a choice reaction task and subtracting the time for a simple reaction task. The end amount was thought to be the time it takes for a decision to be made. This showed that psychological concepts could be inferred from behavioral studies
  • Fritsch and Hitzig and electrical stimulation

    Fritsch and Hitzig and electrical stimulation
    Until this point research on reflex action was done by looking at the sensory system moving up. Fritsch and Hitzig proposed a new method by looking at the motor system moving down. To do this they applied electrical stimulation directly to the cerebral cortex in dogs using a thin probe and observed the motor effects. What they found was that stimulation of different cortical areas caused involuntary muscle contractions in particular parts of the dog’s body, and later identified the motor strip.
  • Gustav Fritsch and Edvard Hitzig discover that electrical stimulation ofthe cortex produces contralateral movement

    Gustav Fritsch and Edvard Hitzig discover that electrical stimulation ofthe cortex produces contralateral movement
    When the two stimulated canine cortex they found that muscle twitching followed. Importantly, the twitching was found to be contralateral to the stimulated cortex hemisphere. They also found that only stimulation of the anterior cortex elicited spasms. They were the first to show cortical electrical conductivity and the topographical mapping of the body on the cortex. If the cortex was lesioned, they noted movements diminished and suggested motor movements were not localized to a single area.
  • Wernicke's area

    Wernicke's area
    In 1874, more than a decade after Broca’s discovery, Carl Wernicke hypothesized that there existed a link between the posterior part of the left temporal lobe and language. Through observing the location of brain injuries which resulted in aphasia Wernicke concluded that this area was associated with word processing and thus responsible for language comprehension. His discovery provided further evidence that certain brain areas were associated with specific functions.
  • Robert Bartholow applies electrical stimulation to the brain of a live patient

    Robert Bartholow applies electrical stimulation to the brain of a live patient
    Robert Bartholow became the first to investigate electrical conductivity of the brain when he treated Mary Rafferty who had a hole in her skull from an ulcer. Bartholow discovered that a current applied to the left motor cortex produced movement of the body without pain. When he increased the current, Rafferty began having seizures. She died a few days later from a seizure. The American Medical Association condemned Bartholow’s work but it remains the only human experiment of its kind.
  • Wundt takes professorship at Leipzig University, Germany

    Wundt takes professorship at Leipzig University, Germany
    Wundt studied with both Muller and Helmholtz and in 1879, opened the first psychology lab. Here the scientific method was applied to psychology to solidify it as an independent science. Lab students included Cattel, Stanley Hall, Titchner and Spearman. In 1881, Wundt printed the first psychology journal. Studies often pertained to sensation and perception by method of introspection. Wundt also studied cultural psychology through investigating language (thus, a precursor to psycholinguistics).
  • David Ferrier maps out certain areas of cortex through stimulation

    David Ferrier maps out certain areas of cortex through stimulation
    In 1876, David Ferrier who had been trained underneath Wundt, published his book "The Functions of the Brain". In this book, Ferrier effectively mapped out the cortex for many function such as sensory areas. This research, showing that localization of various cognitive processes are located in varying regions of the brain, became a staple of Neuroscience which is still used today. Thanks to this work, he was elected as a fellow of the royal society in 1876.
  • Founding of first research laboratory in North America

    Founding of first research laboratory in North America
    In 1883, G. Stanley Hall created the first psychology research laboratory in North America at the Johns Hopkins University to help study psychology from the functionalist perspective. While much of the research was functionalist and also focused strongly on Darwin’s theory of evolution, there was also a large shift in the United States that led to research on development and education. Stanley Hall went on to train James Cattell, John Dewey and Lewis Terman.
  • Hermann Ebbinghaus publishes Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology from self-experiment data

    Hermann Ebbinghaus publishes Memory:  A contribution to experimental psychology from self-experiment data
    Between 1879-80 and again in 1883-4, Ebbinghaus performed carefully conducted experiments on himself with the use of non-sense syllables to study learning and memory. This provided a way to measure (experimentally) memory. This led to his forgetting curve and the concept of remote associations which are still studied today. Thus Ebbinghaus was the first to provide experimental evidence on forming associations and he is also credited with publishing the first standardized report.
  • Creation of American Journal of Psychology and APA

    Creation of American Journal of Psychology and APA
    In 1887 G. Stanley Hall, who had studied under not only Wundt but also William James, founded the American Journal of Psychology which was the first journal of psychology in the United States. Thanks to this journal, among many other key roles that Hall played, he later went on in founding the American Psychological Association, which was the first national organization of psychologists of its kind in the United States and was its first president.
  • William James publishes Principles of Psychology

    William James publishes Principles of Psychology
    James’ book became America’s first psychology textbook and for a good reason. It is widely regarded as a one of psychology's best books and is still used as a textbook. James discussed habits and their Darwinian benefits to our behavior, “stream of thought” to describe consciousness, he categorized the contents of consciousness, provided insight into attention and memory and created a theory of emotions. James’ book was often later famous psychologists’ introduction psychology.
  • Mary Whiton Calkins sets up her psychology lab at Wellesley College

    Mary Whiton Calkins sets up her psychology lab at Wellesley College
    In 1891, Mary Calkins set up her lab at Wellesly College. Within this lab, her and her students would study numerous subjects in psychology, with special focus on dreams, memory, and the study of the conscious self. It is here that the concept of paired associations is developed, and it is also during her time at Wellesley that Calkins will formalize her system of self-psychology, espousing the belief that the self acts consciously and with purpose.
  • First Female Ph.D in psychology awarded to Margaret Washburn

    First Female Ph.D in psychology awarded to Margaret Washburn
    In 1894, Margaret Floy Washburn became the first woman ever to have attained her Ph.D in psychology. Her teacher and supervisor was Edward Titchener at Cornell university. She would later go on to publish The Animal Mind in 1908 which was entire summary of the knowledge that psychologists knew about cognitive function within animal species. This was influential because she stated that animals, like humans, have conscious mental experiences. A claim that James Watson passionately disagreed with.
  • Studies on Hysteria published

    Studies on Hysteria published
    In 1895, Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud published their Studies on Hysteria. These case notes, done on studies of ladies, like Bertha Pappenheim, undergoing hysteria would eventually lead Freud to define many of his very influential terms such as the unconscious. He would use these terms to create the field of psychoanalysis in order to treat people using talk therapy and other ideas such as dream analysis, all in order to understand how the unconscious works.
  • Mary Calkins defends her thesis "An experimental research on the association of ideas"

    Mary Calkins defends her thesis "An experimental research on the association of ideas"
    October 1, 1890 Mary Calkins begins studying at Harvard under William James and Josiah Royce and later in Hugo Munsterberg’s laboratory. However, she is considered a guest and not a registered student. During this time she writes her thesis “An experimental research on the association of ideas”. She defends her thesis in front of James, Royce, and Munsterberg on May 28, 1895. Even though it is unanimously voted that she satisfied all the requirements Harvard refuses to grant her a degree.
  • The first psychological clinic is established by Whitmer

    The first psychological clinic is established by Whitmer
    Lightner Witmer established the World’s first clinic and was the first to use the term “clinical” in relation to a distinct division of psychology. Having first trained with Cattell and later under Wundt, Witmer used scientific research for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of learning and behavioral impairments to improve the wellbeing of children and their families living with impairments. Witmer developed what we now know as school psychology, child psychology and special education.
  • Freud publishes "The Interpretation of Dreams"

    Freud publishes "The Interpretation of Dreams"
    In 1900 Freud analyzed his own dreams for what he referred to as manifest (surface) and latent (unconscious) content and used the evidence to publish the book “The Interpretation of Dreams” which introduced his theory on the unconscious for the first time. This theory included the important distinctions made between the Id, Ego and Super-ego and the concept of ego defences. It was also in this book that he began discussing the basis for psychosexual stages and the Oedipus and Electra complex.
  • Charles Spearman publishes "General intelligence objectively determined and measured"

     Charles Spearman publishes "General intelligence objectively determined and measured"
    With this paper, Spearman demonstrates his newly minted method of statistical analysis known as "factor analysis." This new method demonstrates that scores among different tests of intelligence are positively correlated therefore suggesting a single mental factor for intelligence coined, "general factor (g)." Spearman thus became known as the first systematic psychometrician. Spearman's process of factor analysis remains an important process in psychological research even today.
  • A Parisian minister names Alfred Binet and Theophile Simon in a commission to develop intelligence testing of children

    A Parisian minister names Alfred Binet and Theophile Simon in a commission to develop intelligence testing of children
    The French decided that no child should be removed from the school system due to suspect retardation without testing first. Thus the Binet-Simon Scale was developed and with a substantial amount of empirical research in mind. Test items were arranged by increasing difficulty and comprised of different tasks to measure normal function. The easiest items were to be completed by all including those with severe retardation. The design allowed differentiation of children according to mental age.
  • Edwin B Twitmyer publishes "Knee jerks without simulation of the patellar tendon"

    Edwin B Twitmyer publishes "Knee jerks without simulation of the patellar tendon"
    Twitmyer was performing experiments to examine variation in the reflex action of the patellar tendon. To activate the knee jerk reaction he dropped a small hammer stimulating the tendon; a bell preceded the hammer drop to warn the subject. He accidentally discovered classical conditioning when he observed the usual knee jerk reaction after the bell sounded but the hammer failed to drop. In 1904 he presented his findings to the American Psychological Association but nobody paid attention to him.
  • Narziss Ach invetigates will power and conflict: "Combined method for investigating will power"

    Narziss Ach invetigates will power and conflict: "Combined method for investigating will power"
    German experimental psychologist Narziss Ach had participants memorize nonsense syllable association pairs. Then using the same stimuli he had them rhyme with nonsense syllables. The difficulty of this task was reflected in an increased latency are error rate. He interpreted this as an empirical measure of 'will.' This paradigm is considered a predecessor to other modern conflict paradigms such as the Stroop Task.
  • Camillo Golgi awarded nobel prize

    Camillo Golgi awarded nobel prize
    In 1906, Camillo Golgi was awarded a nobel prize in Medicine for his development of the Golgi stain. At the time, there was no adequate way to look at neurons or any small structures that made up brain tissue. Golgi stains provided the answer by allowing individual neurons to be stained and stand out against other cells, allowing for relatively easy study of each of the parts. While an amazing discovery on it’s own, it would further spur other scientists such as Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
  • Otto Selz's dissertation “The psychological theory of thinking and the transcendence problem”

    Otto Selz's dissertation “The psychological theory of thinking and the transcendence problem”
    Far before the cognitive revolution, Otto Selz suggested that humans reason and make decisions acorrording to "schemas" that they build. Experimentally he employed participants to explain out loud how they problem solved on a generalization task (whereby an object was generalized into a broader category). He attested that more than simple association making was behind such processes, and that the mind used a different organization structure for guidence: a schema.
  • Freud lectures on psychoanalysis at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

    Freud lectures on psychoanalysis at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts
    After declining an honorarium of $500, Sigmund Freud eventually agreed to lecture at Clark University when G. Stanley Hall (President of Clark Uni.) increased the honorarium. Accompanied by Karl Jung, Freud lectured on the topography of the mind, hysteria, repression, the role of childhood sexual experiences, and methods of therapy (free association and dream analysis). Despite academic disapproval of psychoanalysis, “talking cures” fascinated America and it soon dominated clinical treatment.
  • Alfred Adler is expelled by Freud from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society

    Alfred Adler is expelled by Freud from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society
    Adler trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst but became increasingly dissatisfied with Freud’s sexual emphasis until his exclusion from the VPS in 1911. The rise of Adler’s theory was due to Alder’s view of humans as directors of their own life. Thus humans are conscious beings rather than slaves to the unconscious. Social development was seen as more important than Freud’s biological forces and Adler’s psychoanalytic theory would undermine Freud’s for his positive view of man appealed to many.
  • Vladimir Bekhterev publishes "Psychology as the Beahaviourist sees it".

    Vladimir Bekhterev publishes "Psychology as the Beahaviourist sees it".
    Working against the popular functionalist views of the time, in his text Bekhterev underlines the idea that psychology must be completely objective, and the belief that all psychological behaviour can be traced back to a reflex.This ideology supports behaviourism, and similar thoughts are later reflected in Watson's work. The former co-worker of Wundt also stated that psychology should be studied exclusively by using a stimulus-response method, with the mind and the body working as one being.
  • Little Albert Study

    Little Albert Study
    The infamous Little Albert study was conducted in 1920 by John Watson, the founder of behaviorism, and Rosalie Rayner. Little Albert was conditioned, through the use of a loud noise, to greatly fear a white rabbit. While behaviorism was already well under way by this time throughout the psychology community, this was a study, flawed and ethically questionable, that truly showed how far testing would go to attempt to show behaviorist principles and how conditioning works in young humans.
  • First Ph.D for an African American in psychology

    First Ph.D for an African American in psychology
    In 1920, Working on the previous accomplishments of Freud and Adler, Francis Cecil Sumner would go on to publish his dissertation in what would later be called the journal of genetic psychology. This would make him the first African-American to earn a Ph.D in any American university. After this achievement, he went on to work in the educational field, working on pressing issues such as segregation in schools, which would eventually spur his student, Kenneth Clark, into the same field.
  • Karl Jung publishes "Psychological Types"

    Karl Jung publishes "Psychological Types"
    It was in this book that Karl Jung first introduced the terms 'extravert' and 'introvert.' He believed these two terms modified his 4 functions of concious: sensation and intuition (as perceptions), and; thinking and feeling (as judgments). The crossing of these concepts resulted in defining 8 basic personality types. The most famous example of this legacy is the widely used Myers-Briggs test, which is still popular today. Here is sample Jungian Test.
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein publishes 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus' inpiring Logical Positivism

    Ludwig Wittgenstein publishes 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus' inpiring Logical Positivism
    'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus' was the key influential work adopted by the Vienna Circle, who from its conceptualization established Logical Positivism philosophy. Chiefly, Wittgenstien suggests all knowelge can be standardized in scientific language. Logical Positivism combines empiricism and rationalism. These perspectives created what came to be known as Logical Behaviourism; mental concepts merely refer to behavioural tendencies, and therefore must be translated into behavioural terms.
  • Jean Piaget's work on children's language

    Jean Piaget's work on children's language
    Piaget, who worked at Grange-Aux-Belles Street School for Boys with Alfred Binet, would go on to write many influential works within the realm of developmental psychology. In 1926, Piaget started work on language and cognition for children. He tried to find the links between how a child talks and how this impacts on how the child is able to solve or work through problems. This work was very close to work that would follow from Lev Vygotsky.
  • Idea of Mass Action solidified by Karl Lashley

    Idea of Mass Action solidified by Karl Lashley
    In 1929, the principle of mass action had been solidified by Karl Lashley, who did a lot of work with James B. Watson. He was attempting to find a precise spot in the brain that could be shown to be associated with the concept of learning. While he never did find this spot, he found that by cutting more and more of a rat’s brain away, the rat performed worse on each trial of the maze running. These ideas would further spur the creation of the field of behavioural neuroscience.
  • Harry Harlow joins UW Madison where he will publish several groundbreaking studies on attachment

    Harry Harlow joins UW Madison where he will publish several groundbreaking studies on attachment
    Harlow's experiments involved separating baby monkeys from their mothers hours after birth. The babies were then ‘raised’ by a wire mother who provided milk and a cloth mother. He saw a preference to the cloth mother even without providing food (thus crushing the theory of infanthood being purely of physiological needs). Harlow showed that mother’s love was emotional and that attachment had important critical periods.
  • Sir Charles Sherrington wins nobel prize

    Sir Charles Sherrington wins nobel prize
    In 1932 Sir Charles Sherrington and his colleague Edgar Douglas Adrian shared the Nobel Prize for their “discoveries regarding functions of neurons”. Among these contributions was the term “synapse”. He couldn’t see the synapse but inferred its existence after observing a slower speed of reflex action than predicted by the speed of action potential and concluded the signal was stopping and starting. He also demonstrated inhibition for the first time and temporal and spatial summation.
  • Rise of Nazism

    Rise of Nazism
    With the rise of nazi germany in 1933, and the rise in fear of being persecuted, it would lead to the concentration of psychological researchers in germany to be scattered throughout the rest of the civilized world. Due to this, Freud’s ideas and many other ideas, would start to emerge all over and grow in various other directions. A clear example of this was all of the psychoanalytic work that would rise in London after Freud moved there in 1938.
  • John R. Stroop introduces the Stroop task to psychology

    John R. Stroop introduces the Stroop task to psychology
    Regarded as one of the most useful research tools ever created, the Stroop task was developed for Stroop’s doctoral dissertation in 1935. It requires participants to read a list of color names, written in different colors. It demonstrates automatic and voluntary controlled processes and our use of attention. Stroop was not the first to research this phenomena; Cattel also discussed this idea in his own dissertation, supervised by Wuntdt. The task has been subsequently used in over 700 studies.
  • Robert S. Woodworth publishes 'Experimental Psychology'

    Robert S. Woodworth publishes 'Experimental Psychology'
    'Experimental Psychology' was a textbook on methodologies of psychological experimentations. This textbook was a huge success and sold over 44,000 in the first 20 years of publishment, before being revised in another successful version. Functionalist perspectives, with biological analysis, were integrated themes. As a result the textbook was a huge stride for functionalism, and a large blow to the structuralist perspective it replaced.
  • B.F. Skinner publishes The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis

    B.F. Skinner publishes The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis
    Although many psychologists initially disregarded this, Skinner outlined his “purely descriptive science” of respondent and operant behavior. His method grouped humans with all other organisms as he saw no importance in studying neurological causes and thus his lab work with rats also symbolized the behavior of humans. Skinner implicated his work to the broader social scope. This would later influence education, animal training, mental health programs, physical rehabilitation and industry.
  • Kluver and Bucy work on amygdala and emotions

    Kluver and Bucy work on amygdala and emotions
    1939 marked a huge step forward with emotional and amygdala research when Heinrich Kluver and Paul Bucy inflicted what would be called the Kluver-bucy syndrome in monkeys by removing their bilateral anterior temporal lobes. Not only did the monkeys lose their fear, they had other symptoms such as visual agnosia and indiscriminate dietary behaviours. This work built upon Brown and Schaefer’s work in 1888 and would lead to a lot of work done on emotions and their relationship to the amgydala.
  • Clark Leonard Hull publishes 'Principles of Behavior'

    Clark Leonard Hull publishes 'Principles of Behavior'
    Hull was a front-runner in neo-behaviourism, and with support from other prominent neo-behaviourist such as Skinner and Tolman, pushed for psychological vocabulary to be exlculively stated in behaviourist terms. In Principles of Behavior Hull suggests organisms behave to reduce tension of not having psychological needs met (hunger, sex, thirst... etc). Known as 'Drive Theory,' motivation (now considered a mental events) was implicated in behaviour; but still limited to Behavioralist terminology.
  • Informed consent and ethical regulations of experimentation are established

    Informed consent and ethical regulations of experimentation are established
    “The Doctors Trial” of the post WWII Nuremberg Trials demonstrated an apparent need to explicitly state a humane and ethical set of research principles. Thus, the Nuremberg Code came into existence. Foremost among the points was a necessary informed consents of any participant voluntarily involved in research. Although not globally legally forced, the code has been adopted by most countries, institutions, funding entities, and all respectable scientific communities.
  • Heinz Lehmann becomes clinical director at Douglas Hospital

    Heinz Lehmann becomes clinical director at Douglas Hospital
    The award in his nameHere Lehmann, a Canadian psychiatrist, would conduct the first psychotropic and antidepressant trials in North American. Lehmann’s work demonstrated the benefits of chlorpromazine and imipramine in treating schizophrenia and depression respectively. His results eventually allowed these patients to leave hospitals and live and function in society. He also was a major force in the movement to transform psychiatric hospitals into therapeutic, rehabilitation centers as they are today.
  • Tolman's idea of a cognitive map

    Tolman's idea of a cognitive map
    In 1948, Edward Tolman, who worked under Hugo Munsterburg, published his paper titled “Cognitive maps in rats and men” which detailed aspects of cognition, something the behaviorists did not like. In this paper, he detailed the mental maps that had been used by rats after they had learnt various mazes. This enabled them to navigate towards food in a way that was unpredicted by the stimulus-response methods proposed by behaviorists. This started resurfacing cognition in the field of psychology.
  • Karl Lashely publishes 'The problem of serial order in behaviour'

    Karl Lashely publishes 'The problem of serial order in behaviour'
    Although Karl Lashely considered himself a behaviorist, and was both friend and colloeague to John Watson, in his later career Lashely begins diverge from Watsonian Behaviorism. In this paper Lashely points out problems with Watson's idea of complex behaviours as a conditioned chain of smaller single stimulus repsonses. Lashely views priming as evidence against this, and suggests central control over behaviour. This well cited paper was an important player in the uprising of cognitivism.
  • Donald Broadbent creates the dichotic listening task

    Donald Broadbent creates the dichotic listening task
    After serving in WWII and observing the incompatibility of machines and humans, Broadbent studied ways to improve this interaction. Broadbent began with the issue of when a person receives two incoming messages at the same time. Using the dichotic task, he found that when participants knew which stream contained the important message, the task was easy. He had thus demonstrated the role of attention, which he described as having “hardly appeared in respectable circles for forty years.”
  • Maslow starts his Mailing List (the 'Euphysician Network")

    Maslow starts his Mailing List (the 'Euphysician Network")
    Maslow became disgruntled by the increasing difficulty to publish his work, as a result of the behaviourist hegemony. He began a ailing list (beginning with 125 members) so that other like-minded (discontent) psychologists could correspond non-behaviorist theories and findings. From this list humanistic psychology began to become recognized as a distinct entity within psychology. See "The Psychology of Being" entry for the further developments that stem from Maslow’s creation of the list.
  • Dartmouth conference on computers

    Dartmouth conference on computers
    With the rise of computers, psychology began to think of computational methods to describe the brain, which eventually led to some models like the broadbent model of attention. This began at conferences like the Dartmouth conference in 1956 where John McCarthy coined the phrase “Artificial Intelligence” which led to ideas that intelligence could be obtained not only by humans, but by machines, through the use of cognitive abilities. This was one of the major landmarks in the rise of cognition.
  • George Miller publishes "A Study of Thinking"

    George Miller publishes "A Study of Thinking"
    Two papers published by Miller in 1956 marked the re-introduction of studying higher mental processes. Miller was inspired by mathematics and thus, using the analogy of a computer model to explain information processing, introduced the concept of “chunking.” He reported seven as the magical number of items we can hold in the in working memory at a time. This is called “span of immediate memory.” Miller influence universities world-wide in opening centers for cognitive studies.
  • the book “Existence” is published and introduced American psychologists to existentialism

    the book “Existence” is published and introduced American psychologists to existentialism
    Existentialism first translated into a (European) form of psychotherapy that differed from psychoanalysis. It was based on the works of Nietzsche among others. With the publishing of “Exsistence,” American psychologists began applying this idea to their own theories; making changes where they saw needed. By 1959, the APA held a symposium to discuss the application of existentialism and here is where humanistic psychology developed. Eminent humanistic psychologists include Maslow and Rogers.
  • Hubel and Wiesel's first paper ‘Receptive fields of single neurons in the cat's striate cortex'

    Hubel and Wiesel's first paper  ‘Receptive fields of single neurons in the cat's striate cortex'
    Hubel and Wiesel examined cortical neural responses to light in cats. Initial attempts at eliciting neural responses to spots of light with a projector were unsuccessful, they serendipitously elicited activity by the movement of switching the target stimuli: neurons have certain specificity not pertaining to objects alone, but to directional movements. This groundbreaking study was the beginning to unlocking not only a key part in visual perception, but cortical organization as a whole.
  • Noam Chomsky publishes review of Verbal Behaviour

    Noam Chomsky publishes review of Verbal Behaviour
    Noam Chomsky, in 1959, writes a scathing review of B.F. Skinner’s “Verbal Behavior” which tears apart his entire argument that language is learned through operant conditioning. Skinner believed that children learnt language through rewards and punishments, Chomsky proposed many points that advocated that language was created through evolutionary and innate abilities in the mind, and not through training. This was one of the major points that started promoting the fall of behaviorism.
  • R.D. Walk and Eleanor Gibson develop the visual cliff for studying depth perception

    R.D. Walk and Eleanor Gibson develop the visual cliff for studying depth perception
    Researches including Helmhotz, had been fascinated in the mechanism of depth perception from early on. Gibson’s work demonstrated that the visual system did not necessarily rely on previous experience as formerly hypothesized. She demonstrated adaptiveness in this skill: animals and babies, who were able to crawl, avoided the deep end although they likely had not had that exact experience before. Gibson showed that depth perception need not be learnt although experience can certainly enhance it.
  • "The Psychology of Being" is published after "The Journal of Humanistic Psychology" is created

    "The Psychology of Being" is published after "The Journal of Humanistic Psychology" is created
    "The Psychology of Being" was the publishment of Maslow's Euphysician Network. One original member of Maslow's list, Anthony Sutich, helped Maslow establish the "The Journal of Humanistic Psychology" and "The Association of Humanistic Pyschology" in the previous year. The publishment of "The Psychology of Being" consolidated the hidden popularity of humanistic psychology, and was key in establishing and advertising humanistic perpsectives in psychology.
  • Harry Harlow demonstrates maternal importance in rhesus monkeys

    Harry Harlow demonstrates maternal importance in rhesus monkeys
    "Total social isolation in monkeys" was a series of experiments where infant rhesus monkeys were separated at birth from there mothers, for 24 months. The monkeys emerged socially and cognitively disturbed. More interesting was the monkey’s behaviour during it's isolation. The monkeys would spend more time clinging to a cloth surrogate mother (a post) over a metal post surrogate mother nippled for feeding. This demonstrated a powerful maternal need, on par with need for food, in higher mammals.
  • Ulric Neisser writes the first cognitive psychology textbook

    Ulric Neisser writes the first cognitive psychology textbook
    By the mid 1960s, many psychologists began researching cognitive psychology. Different branches of this field developed without a definite central tie to unite this new field. Neisser provided the tie when he published the first cognitive psychology textbook. The text described the relationship between cognitive processes and the computer. It undermined the role of the brain’s hardware level, or what the neural basis was, and stressed understanding of the programing level of brain processing.
  • First African American APA president

    First African American APA president
    A student of Francis Sumner, Kenneth Clark, became the first member of a minority group to become president of the APA in 1970. Clark’s work focused heavily on self-image of African American children. Underneath his research, new ground was made into the idea that psychological harm could be inflicted upon people simply by the act of segregating based on a factor such as race. It was thanks to his work that segregation would eventually be outlawed in public schools.
  • Herbert and Simon publish a review on their computer simulation work

    Herbert and Simon publish a review on their computer simulation work
    The programs Simon and Newell wrote were the pioneering works of artificial intelligence. Among there simulations was a basic program which could play chess. This program was far from perfect and quite limited as an opponent, however such simulations fueled philosophical questions as to if computers could 'think,' as well as what simple components constitute human processes. Although AI validity dies out in the next few years, see 'Deep Blue 1997' on timeline.
  • Roger Sperry's work on split-brain patients

    Roger Sperry's work on split-brain patients
    Roger Sperry, who trained underneath Karl Lashley at Harvard University, worked on split-brain neuroanatomy and behaviour. This research came to a head in 1974 when he won the nobel prize for his work with split-brain patients. This work showed that not only is their consciousness in general, when the brain is split it can appear to have consciousness in both hemispheres working separately from each other which was shown with drawing paradigms and dual-stimulus projects.
  • Herbert Simon and Descision Systematics

    Herbert Simon and Descision Systematics
    Originally a graduate of political sciences, Simon began to expand his interests interdisciplinary, include economics, management, psychology, and computer sciences. With a past involving these many dimensions, Simon created a 4 level hypothesis about human decision making, including: problem organization, models plan, model choosing phase, then implementation of model. His theory was widely adopted and demonstrated the non-mechanical rational problem solving/thinking nature of the human mind.
  • David Marr publishes “Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information”

    David Marr publishes “Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information”
    Marr is one of the few scientists to have fully explained a human phenomenon, here edge detection. Marr hypothesized a tri-level system of information processing. At the computational level, visual images are blurred. The algorithmic level detects light/dark variations (the basis of edges) and at the implementation level, Marr found parvocellular cells in the LGN, whose circular receptor fields fire in response to light/dark changes. This work inspired later computer programs such as Photoshop.
  • Frontal lobe effects with monkeys on planning

    Frontal lobe effects with monkeys on planning
    Research with monkeys and frontal lobes in 1985 by Passingham. It worked with memory and with spatial awareness. Using frontal lesions, they showed that monkeys were unable to remember where they had already searched and which food container to search in next when they were placed in a maze of 25 food boxes. This study showed the impact of frontal lobes on planning, memory and forethought. This was part of the large movement mapping the functions of different lobes of the brain.
  • Geschwind and Galaburda's work on plasticity

    Geschwind and Galaburda's work on plasticity
    In 1987, Norman Geschwind and Alberta Galaburda worked with brain plasticity and the sex hormone, testosterone. Their research showed that, while their original model of handedness and the effects of testosterone were unsupported, there were changes in the organization of the cortex. This sparked a lot of further research into how hormones can affect brain plasticity and the hemispheric organization of the brains, eventually leading to studies about why differences in each hemisphere appear.
  • APS American Psychological Society

    APS American Psychological Society
    The rise of clinical psychological interest began to become popularized and dominate academic journals as well as become a major integration of APA politics and interest. Such changes made many researchers feel alienated. Thus the APS was created, it's goal being to 'advance the discipline of Psychology and preserve it's scientific base; to promote public understanding of psychological science and it's applications; and encourage the “giving away of psychology in public interest’ (Rogers, 1990)
  • Study linking the frontal lobes to emotions and context

    Study linking the frontal lobes to emotions and context
    Kolb and Taylor, in 1988, worked off the ideas that Ekman had brought forth about emotions and their universality and believed that the function of emotions with faces resided in the frontal lobes.Through lesion studies, they observed that patients with frontal lobe damage were unable to match proper facial expressions of emotion to their appropriate cartoon situation, such as a sad face to a funeral situation. This effect was shown to a lesser extent with temporal lobe damage.
  • Richard McFall addresses the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (a section of the American Psychological Association), in an effort to ensure that practitioners of clinical psychology are only administering evidence-based services

    Richard McFall addresses the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology (a section of the American Psychological Association), in an effort to ensure that practitioners of clinical psychology are only administering evidence-based services
    McFall’s speech indicates that institutional problems exist in the standard application of evaluation and treatment options for people suffering with mental disorders, with some practitioners relying on their own personal beliefs rather than information garnered through research.Over 100 years after Wundt formalized the experimental method for research in psychology, the use of science-backed reseach is still not consistently applied when assessing and treating those with mental disorders.
  • Deep Blue beats Kasparov at chess

    Deep Blue beats Kasparov at chess
    Deep Blue is a chess playing computer developed by IBM, which was capable of processing 200 million positions per second, with an average foresite of 7 moves (but up to 20 in certain circumstances). Deep Blue was the first machine to beat a reigning world chess champion (Garry Kasparov). This, and more recently Waston (2011 on timeline), demonstrate beyond human processes in machines - but a notable limitation of truly human creative ability and generation.
  • Bilingual study on speech patterns in the brain

    Bilingual study on speech patterns in the brain
    In 1997, Kim et al. showed that parts of the brain could become specialized just based on whether someone learnt a second language in early childhood or not. The MRI scans revealed that Broca’s area in the brain became specialized into two separate sections for each language. It was also shown that people who learnt a second language after a critical period did not have this split. As well, Wernicke’s area had no split, it was only for language production.
  • Differences between temporal lobes on music recognition

    Differences between temporal lobes on music recognition
    Hemispheric differences in the temporal lobes were analyzed by Schneider et al. in 2005. The idea of hemispheric differences were being shown in many different areas of the brain, which is what this study focused on. The study showed that the realm of music was analyzed differently in both hemispheres. Spectral pitch was stronger in the right hemisphere and fundamental pitch was stronger in the left hemisphere. This same difference was even more profound in individuals with a musical background.
  • Model of the streams of vision

    Model of the streams of vision
    The model by David Milner and Melvyn Goodale is completed in 2006 that accounts for our theoretical understanding of how the visual cortex works. They worked on the ventral and dorsal streams of vision and described, through patients such as D.F. that there was a double dissociation in function. The dorsal stream appeared to work with object location and action with vision, the ventral stream is for object recognition with vision.
  • APS Association for Psychological Science

    APS Association for Psychological Science
    Into the 21st century there was interest to integrate the APS back into the APA. The APA pressed for merging however the APS still did not feel it was in its best interest as the APS saw themselves as serving separate non-competing functions. One change that did occur was changing what their acronym named; from American Psychological Society to Association for Psychological Science. This stressed internationality as well as psychology as a science not just clinical practice as popularized
  • Set-shifting in pre-schoolers through the use of DCCS

    Set-shifting in pre-schoolers through the use of DCCS
    As more and more ideas surfaced during the cognitive revolution of how the brain could control so many various functions and what systems existed, the idea of executive function became a forerunner. Experiments by Zelazo in 2006 exemplify how this research has evolved, showing how certain aspects of executive functioning, like set-shifting, develops in infants. His experiments showed that from 3 years to 4 years of age, children could develop set-shifting skills that resemble an adults.
  • Harvard study with concussion patients and cognitive abilities a year after injury

    Harvard study with concussion patients and cognitive abilities a year after injury
    A new study was recently published by DeBeaumont et al. in 2009. It was able to refute a large amount of data not only on athletic injuries, but on mild brain injuries that dated back through a large amount of history in sports. They were able to show that the effects of concussions on athletes had long lasting effects that could remain longer than a year after the injury, whereas previous data had shown that once the symptoms went away, there were no long term effects from mild concussions.
  • Watson computer beats Jeopardy champions

    Watson computer beats Jeopardy champions
    Waston is a supercomputer designed by IBM (same inventors of Deep Blue), capable of understanding questions in natural language (and answering in question form!). Waston beat out the two jeopordy champions with record wins; Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Although this is another impressive display of super-human processing capacity, it merely was excellent at what it was programmed to do: questioning the validity of 'intelligence' in AI, and computer can ever achieve ‘mind.’