On This Day … 09 January

People (Births)

  • 1879 – John B. Watson, American psychologist and academic (d. 1958).

People (Deaths)

  • 2012 – William G. Roll, German-American psychologist and parapsychologist (b. 1926).

John B. Watson

John Broadus Watson (09 January 1878 to 25 September 1958) was an American psychologist who popularized the scientific theory of behaviourism, establishing it as a psychological school.

Watson advanced this change in the psychological discipline through his 1913 address at Columbia University, titled Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It. Through his behaviourist approach, Watson conducted research on animal behaviour, child rearing, and advertising, as well as conducting the controversial “Little Albert” experiment and the Kerplunk experiment. He was also the editor of Psychological Review from 1910 to 1915. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Watson as the 17th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

William G. Roll

William G. Roll (03 July 1926 to 09 January 2012) was an American psychologist and parapsychologist on the faculty of the Psychology Department of the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia.

Roll is most notable for his belief in poltergeist activity. He coined the term “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis” (RSPK) to explain poltergeist cases. However, RSPK was never accepted by mainstream science and sceptics have described Roll as a credulous investigator.

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