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31 May in the History of Psychology
On May 31:
1921 — The Pennsylvania state legislature changed the name of the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital to Harrisburg State Hospital, its present name. The name change was typical of reforms in terminology of the time.
1927 — Percy Tannenbaum was born. Tannenbaum's work with Charles Osgood and George Suci resulted in the development of the semantic differential technique for measuring the connotative meaning of words and of the congruity model of attitude consistency and change.
1937 — In a picture story titled "Rat Works Slot Machine for a Living," Life magazine described the performance of a rat named Pliny the Elder. Using the method of shaping, B. F. Skinner had trained Pliny to pull a chain to release a marble, pick up the marble, and drop it in a box for a food reinforcement.
1943 — The American Association for Applied Psychology merged with the APA. The event occurred in New York at a meeting of psychologists planning the role of psychology in World War II. Edwin G. Boring chaired the meeting. Ernest R. Hilgard was chairman of the committee that later wrote the bylaws for the new, reconstituted APA.
1975 — The New Directions for Research on Women conference began in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference was organized by Julia Sherman and Florence Denmark of the APA's Committee on Women and chaired by Martha Mednick. The National Institute of Mental Health and the Ford Foundation sponsored the conference.
1983 — The Society for Behavioral Pediatrics was incorporated in Maryland. Sanford B. Freidman was the first president of the society. At the time, the organization was named the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.