On This Day … 20 February

People (Births)

  • 1893 – Elizabeth Holloway Marston, American psychologist and author (d. 1993).

People (Deaths)

  • 1996 – Solomon Asch, American psychologist and academic (b. 1907).

Elizabeth Holloway Marston

Elizabeth Holloway Marston (20 February 1893 to 27 March 1993) was an American attorney and psychologist. She is credited, with her husband William Moulton Marston, with the development of the systolic blood pressure measurement used to detect deception; the predecessor to the polygraph.

She is also credited as the inspiration for her husband’s comic book creation Wonder Woman, a character who was also fashioned on their polyamorous life partner, Olive Byrne.

Solomon Asch

Solomon Eliot Asch (14 September 1907 to 20 February 1996) was a Polish-American Gestalt psychologist and pioneer in social psychology.

He created seminal pieces of work in impression formation, prestige suggestion, conformity, and many other topics. His work follows a common theme of Gestalt psychology that the whole is not only greater than the sum of its parts, but the nature of the whole fundamentally alters the parts. Asch stated: “Most social acts have to be understood in their setting, and lose meaning if isolated. No error in thinking about social facts is more serious than the failure to see their place and function” (Asch, 1952, p. 61). Asch is most well known for his conformity experiments, in which he demonstrated the influence of group pressure on opinions. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Asch as the 41st most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

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