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23 November in the History of Psychology

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On November 23:

1654 — A dream by Blaise Pascal inspired his laws of probability. Pascal, a playboy until this day, reported that God appeared in a dream with the theme of "certitude." Pascal reformed and devoted his life to the search for the laws of certitude.

1667 — The use of blood transfusion as a psychiatric treatment was attempted in London and was witnessed by members of the Royal Society. The recipient was a patient at the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the donor was a sheep. The first recorded example of blood transfusion therapy occurred earlier in 1667 in France, where the recipient was suffering from melancholy and the donor was a calf.

1906 — James McKeen Cattell published the first of three papers in the journal Science on measuring eminence in scientists. The work grew into American Men of Science and, later, American Men and Women of Science. Cattell's work was supported in the beginning by the first Carnegie Institution grant made to a psychologist.

1921 — The Sheppard-Towner Act was passed, establishing a federal role in maternal and infant health programs. The act was attacked by the American Medical Association as a "imported socialistic scheme." The act was allowed to expire on June 30, 1929, after providing $7 million in services in every state except Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Illinois. The constitutionality of the act was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

1923 — Robert Zajonc was born. Zajonc's imaginative studies have explored the nature of social facilitation, the effects of mere exposure on liking, correlates of birth order, and the effects of muscular feedback on emotion. APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 1978.

1946 — The first meeting of the Georgia Psychological Association was held at Emory University. Herman Martin was elected first president of the organization.

1951 — This was the date of the 1951 Dartmouth versus Princeton football game. Conflicting perceptions among spectators at the game were the basis of Albert Hastorf and Hadley Cantril's article titled "They Saw a Game: A Case Study," published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology.

1965 — The antianxiety drug Quaalude (methaqualone; Lemmon) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Methaqualone has discovered in a World War II search for artificial antimalarial drugs when the Japanese cut off supplies of cinchona bark. Its effects made methaqualone a popular illicit drug. Methaqualone was first approved by the FDA as Dimethacol (Pennwalt) on April 25, 1960.

1968 — The first board meeting of APA Division 31 (State Psychological Association Affairs) was held. Rogers Wright was the founding president of Division 31.

1971 — The APA's first Journal Supplement Abstract Service Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology was published. The publication listed sources of well-designed replications, technical reports, reviews of controversial issues, annotated bibliographies, and other material of interest that was ineligible for conventional journal publication.

1981 — The trial of physiological psychologist Edward Taub ended. Taub was found guilty of cruel treatment of research animals at the Institute for Behavioral Research. Testimony and photos were submitted by lab assistant Alex Pacheco, an animal rights activist. Taub claimed that the photos had been staged and that his procedures were humane. On appeal, five of six counts were reversed.