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17 December in the History of Psychology

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On December 17:

1787 — Jan Purkinje was born. Purkinje was a physiologist who contributed work in visual neurology, perception, and the phenomenology of vision. He reported the apparent shift of hue accompanying decreases in illumination, now called the Purkinje shift.

1869 — The military commander of the Union forces occupying Virginia, Major General Canby, authorized the first U.S. institution for the exclusive care of African American mental patients at Howard's Grove, near Richmond. In 1870, the state took over the service and later moved its location to Petersburg. Now named Central State Hospital, the Petersburg facility opened on March 17, 1885.

1909 — Annette Gillette was born. Gillette was an expert in school psychology, child clinical psychology, testing, and school adjustment.

1922 — Juanita H. Williams was born. Williams was a pioneer in the field of the psychology of women. She taught one of the first university courses on the topic in 1971 and wrote Psychology of Women: Behavior in a Biosocial Context (1977), an authoritative early text in the area.

1924 — Max Wertheimer delivered a lecture defining Gestalt psychology to the Kant Society in Berlin. He said, "There are wholes, the behavior of which is not determined by their individual elements but where the part-processes are themselves determined by the intrinsic nature of the whole."

1931 — James McGaugh was born. McGaugh's work in psychobiology has focused on factors that modulate and control learning, memory, mood, and motivation. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1981; American Psychological Society President, 1990.

1962 — The Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. offered the APA a loan for the construction of the 1200 17th Street, NW, headquarters building. The APA borrowed $2,750,000 at 5"% interest.

1968 — The Louisiana Psychological Association was incorporated.

1974 — The First Latin American Conference on Training in Psychology begin in Bogota, Colombia. Approximately 50 psychologists from 14 Latin American countries participated. The conference was financially supported by the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization and the International Union of Psychological Science.