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24 December in the History of Psychology

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On December 24:

1745 — Benjamin Rush was born. Rush was the first American psychiatrist. His Medical Enquiries and Observations Upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812) was the first American textbook on the subject. He advocated humane treatment and occupational therapy, although his treatments also included spinning, ducking in cold water, bleeding, purgatives, and strapping in chairs. Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and was director of the Philadelphia mint.

1917 — The U.S. War Department adopted the Army Alpha and Army Beta Tests of intellectual (Alpha) and physical (Beta) abilities, developed by Robert M. Yerkes. These were the first such tests administered to large numbers of individuals and were eventually used to evaluate 1,700,000 officers and enlisted personnel.

1952 — The Soviet Union issued a Vladimir Bekhterev postage stamp to honor his work in the neurology of classical conditioning.

1952 — Jean Piaget's book Origins of Intelligence in Children was published in the United States (Cook translation).

1957 — The Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic (RSFSR) Psychological Society, a branch of the RSFSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, was founded by Order 495 of RSFSR Minister of Education E. Afanasenko. The Society had been authorized by the Academy's Presidium on January 16, 1957.

1981 — The antidepressant drug Desryl (trazodone; Mead Johnson) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Trazodone is a triazolopyridine, chemically unrelated to other antidepressants. It may operate by selectively inhibiting reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin.