23 May in the Histo...
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23 May in the History of Psychology

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On May 23:

1586 — Timothie Bright, the physician of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, wrote the forward to his book, the Treatise on Melancholy. Bright's book was the first book in the English language on the subject of mental illness. Some of the phrases Bright used in his descriptions of disordered behavior appeared later in the plays of William Shakespeare.

1734 — Franz Anton Mesmer was born. In the 1700s, Mesmer popularized the use of suggestion, which he called animal magnetism, to bring about physical cures. A French royal commission later concluded that animal magnetism was nonexistent and that suggestion alone produced Mesmer's cures. The use of hypnotism in psychotherapy can be traced to Mesmerism.

1883 — Ivan Pavlov received the MD degree at Russia's Military-Medical Academy. His doctoral experiments were on the augmentor nerves of the heart.

1905 — Roelof (Ralph) Gerbrands was born. Gerbrands was employed by Edwin G. Boring in September 1929 to make experimental equipment in the Harvard University shop. Gerbrands later went into business for himself, founding a company that became a major supplier of experimental psychology equipment, best known for its operant conditioning equipment.

1951 — Psychologist Kenneth B.Clark left New York's Penn Station with lawyers Thurgood Marshall and Robert Carter to testify to the damaging effects Thurgood Marshall and Robert Carter to testify to the damaging effects of segregation on self-esteem in African American children in the case of Briggs v. Elliott. The case, heard in Charleston, South Carolina, was the NAACP's first attack on school segregation, culminating in Brown v. Board of Education.

1955 — Lee J. Cronbach's article "Processes Affecting Scores on 'Understanding of Others' and 'Assumed Similarity'" was published in Psychological Bulletin.

1966 — The petition to create APA Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse) was submitted. Harley Hanson represented the petitioning group.

1983 — The National Working Conference on Education and Training in Health Psychology began in Harriman, New York. The conference recognized the growing body of knowledge in health psychology and recommended procedures for the orderly development of professional practice in the field. Stephen Weiss chaired the conference.

1986 — Congress passed Public Law 99-319, the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986. The act provided for state agencies to advocate for client rights and to investigate and report abuse of people with mental illness.

1990 — The Loebner Prize was established by the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. The prize is given annually to the authors of the computer program that best emulates human behavior.