On This Day … 06 January

People (Births)

  • 1915 – John C. Lilly, American psychoanalyst, physician, and philosopher (d. 2001).

People (Deaths)

  • 2014 – Julian Rotter, American psychologist and academic (b. 1916).

John C. Lilly

John Cunningham Lilly (06 January 1915 to 30 September 2001) was an American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher, writer and inventor. He was a member of a generation of counterculture scientists and thinkers that included Ram Dass, Werner Erhard and Timothy Leary, all frequent visitors to the Lilly home. He often stirred controversy, especially among mainstream scientists.

Lilly conducted high-altitude research during World War II and later trained as a psychoanalyst. He gained renown in the 1950s after developing the isolation tank. He saw the tanks, in which users are isolated from almost all external stimuli, as a means to explore the nature of human consciousness. He later combined that work with his efforts to communicate with dolphins. He began studying how bottlenose dolphins vocalize, establishing centres in the US Virgin Islands, and later San Francisco, to study dolphins. A decade later, he began experimenting with psychedelics, including LSD, often while floating in isolation. His work inspired two Hollywood movies, The Day of the Dolphin (1973) and Altered States (1980).

Julian Rotter

Julian B. Rotter (22 October 1916 to 06 January 2014) was an American psychologist known for developing social learning theory and research into locus of control. He was a faculty member at The Ohio State University and then the University of Connecticut. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Rotter as the 64th most eminent and 18th most widely cited psychologist of the 20th century. A 2014 study published in 2014 placed at #54 among psychologists whose careers spanned the post-World War II era.

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