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16 November in the History of Psychology

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On November 16:

1852 — Maximilian von Frey was born. Frey provided the first comprehensive information about the cutaneous senses. He confirmed the existence of locations for heat, cold, pressure, and pain reception and studied differential sensitivities to each. He suggested a sensory receptor for each modality but later work showed these identifications to be incorrect.

1881 — The trial of Charles Guiteau, assassin of President James Garfield, began. Guiteau's insanity defense was a cause célèbre of the day. Eight experts testified that he was insane. Fifteen others testified that he was sane, despite Guiteau's assertion that the murder was justified because God had ordered him to do it. Guiteau had been refused an appointment to a federal patronage position following Garfield's election in 1880. As a consequence of the assassination, Congress brought an end to the patronage system by passing the Civil Service Act in 1882. The new merit system of federal appointments eventually required the creation of hundreds of ability and aptitude tests based on sound psychometric principles.

1884 — Rudolf Pintner was born. Pintner combined interests in mental measurements and education of people with disabilities. His performance assessment measures supplied half of the items of the World War I Army Beta Test.

1905 — Addressing the general assembly of the Société Libre Pour L'Étude Psychologique de L'Enfant (Society for the Psychological Study of Children), Alfred Binet announced the founding of the Laboratory of Experimental Pedagogy, the first laboratory school in Europe. The school was in Paris, on the rue Grange-aux-belles. On June 5, 1971, a commemorative plaque was placed on the school at rue Claude Vellefaux, which had replaced the original lab school.

1920 — Dorothea Jameson was born. Jameson, with Leo Hurvich, has been responsible for pioneering experiments on color vision and optics. Jameson was the third woman psychologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences (1975). Society of Experimental Psychologists Warren Medal, 1971; APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1972.

1932 — Edwin G. Boring completed the foreword to his book The Physical Dimensions of Consciousness.

1991 — The first full meeting of the APA's Task Force on the "Feminization" of Psychology was held in Washington, DC. The nine-person committee, headed by Dorothy Cantor, considered issues associated with an increasing proportion of women graduates from doctoral programs in psychology. In 1984, 50.1% of new psychologists were women and the proportion has continued to grow.