On This Day … 15 August

People (Births)

  • 1933 – Stanley Milgram, American social psychologist (d. 1984).
  • 1958 – Simon Baron-Cohen, English-Canadian psychiatrist and author.

Stanley Milgram

Stanley Milgram (15 August 1933 20 December 1984) was an American social psychologist, best known for his controversial experiments on obedience conducted in the 1960s during his professorship at Yale.

Milgram was influenced by the events of the Holocaust, especially the trial of Adolf Eichmann, in developing the experiment. After earning a PhD in social psychology from Harvard University, he taught at Yale, Harvard, and then for most of his career as a professor at the City University of New York Graduate Centre, until his death in 1984.

His small-world experiment, while at Harvard, led researchers to analyse the degree of connectedness, including the six degrees of separation concept. Later in his career, Milgram developed a technique for creating interactive hybrid social agents (called cyranoids), which has since been used to explore aspects of social- and self-perception.

He is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of social psychology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Milgram as the 46th-most-cited psychologist of the 20th century.

Simon Baron-Cohen

Sir Simon Philip Baron-Cohen FBA FBPsS FMedSci (born 15 August 1958) is a British clinical psychologist and professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge. He is the director of the university’s Autism Research Centre and a Fellow of Trinity College. In 1985, Baron-Cohen formulated the mind-blindness theory of autism, the evidence for which he collated and published in 1995. In 1997, he formulated the foetal sex steroid theory of autism, the key test of which was published in 2015.

He has also made major contributions to the fields of typical cognitive sex differences, autism prevalence and screening, autism genetics, autism neuroimaging, autism and technical ability, and synaesthesia. Baron-Cohen was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to autistic people.

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