On This Day … 01 February [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1844 – G. Stanley Hall, American psychologist and academic (d. 1924).

G. Stanley Hall

Granville Stanley Hall (01 February 1846 to 24 April 1924) was a pioneering American psychologist and educator. His interests focused on human life span development and evolutionary theory. Hall was the first president of the American Psychological Association and the first president of Clark University. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Hall as the 72nd most cited psychologist of the 20th century, in a tie with Lewis Terman.

On This Day … 27 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1904 – James J. Gibson, American psychologist and academic (d. 1979).

James J. Gibson

James Jerome Gibson (27 January 1904 to 11 December 1979) was an American psychologist and is considered to be one of the most important contributors to the field of visual perception. Gibson challenged the idea that the nervous system actively constructs conscious visual perception, and instead promoted ecological psychology, in which the mind directly perceives environmental stimuli without additional cognitive construction or processing. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked him as the 88th most cited psychologist of the 20th century, tied with John Garcia, David Rumelhart, Louis Leon Thurstone, Margaret Floy Washburn, and Robert S. Woodworth.

On This Day … 25 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1923 – Shirley Ardell Mason, American psychiatric patient (d. 1998).

Shirley Ardell Mason

Shirley Ardell Mason (25 January 1923 to 26 February 1998) was an American art teacher who was reputed to have dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder). Her life was purportedly described, with adaptations to protect her anonymity, in 1973 in the book Sybil, subtitled The True Story of a Woman Possessed by 16 Separate Personalities. Two films of the same name were made, one released in 1976 and the other in 2007. Both the book and the films used the name Sybil Isabel Dorsett to protect Mason’s identity, though the 2007 remake stated Mason’s name at its conclusion.

Mason’s diagnosis and treatment under Cornelia B. Wilbur have been criticised, with allegations that Wilbur manipulated or misdiagnosed Mason. Mason herself eventually told her doctor that she did not have multiple personalities and that the symptoms had not been genuine, although whether or not this statement accurately reflected Mason’s views later in life remains controversial.

On This Day … 24 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1850 – Hermann Ebbinghaus, German psychologist (d. 1909).
  • 1853 – Sigbert Josef Maria Ganser, German psychiatrist (d. 1931).

Hermann Ebbinghaus

Hermann Ebbinghaus (24 January 1850 to 26 February 1909) was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory, and is known for his discovery of the forgetting curve and the spacing effect. He was also the first person to describe the learning curve. He was the father of the neo-Kantian philosopher Julius Ebbinghaus.

Sigbert Josef Maria Ganser

Sigbert Josef Maria Ganser (24 January 1853 to 4 January 1931) was a German psychiatrist born in Rhaunen.

He earned his medical doctorate in 1876 from the University of Munich. Afterwards he worked briefly at a psychiatric clinic in Würzburg, and later as an assistant to neuroanatomist Bernhard von Gudden (1824-1886) in Munich. In 1886, he became head of the psychiatric department at Dresden General Hospital. Among his students was neurologist Hans Queckenstedt (1876-1918).

Sigbert Ganser is remembered for a hysterical disorder that he first described in 1898. He identified the disorder in three prisoners while working at a prison in Halle. The features included approximate or nonsensical answers to simple questions, perceptual abnormalities, and clouding of consciousness. Ganser believed that these symptoms were an associative reaction caused by an unconscious attempt by the patient to escape from an intolerable mental situation. The disorder was to become known as Ganser syndrome.

On This Day … 22 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1913 – Henry Bauchau, Belgian psychoanalyst and author (d. 2012).
  • 1932 – Berthold Grünfeld, Norwegian psychiatrist and academic (d. 2007).

Henry Bauchau

Henry Bauchau (22 January 1913 to 21 September 2012) was a Belgian psychoanalyst, lawyer, and author of French prose and poetry.

Berthold Grunfeld

Berthold Grünfeld (22 January 1932 to 20 August 2007) was a Norwegian psychiatrist, sexologist, and professor of social medicine at the University of Oslo. He was also a recognised expert in forensic psychiatry, often employed by Norwegian courts to examine insanity defense pleas.

On This Day … 21 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1887 – Wolfgang Köhler, German psychologist and phenomenologist (d. 1967).

Wolfgang Kohler

Wolfgang Köhler (21 January 1887 to 11 June 1967) was a German psychologist and phenomenologist who, like Max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka, contributed to the creation of Gestalt psychology.

During the Nazi regime in Germany, he protested against the dismissal of Jewish professors from universities, as well as the requirement that professors give a Nazi salute at the beginning of their classes. In 1935 he left the country for the United States, where Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania offered him a professorship. He taught with its faculty for 20 years, and did continuing research. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Köhler as the 50th most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

On This Day … 20 January [2023]

People (Births)

People (Deaths)

  • 1944 – James McKeen Cattell, American psychologist and academic (b. 1860).
  • 2012 – Alejandro Rodriguez, Venezuelan-American paediatrician and psychiatrist (b. 1918).

Nikos Sideris

Nikos Sideris (Greek: Νίκος Σιδέρης; born 20 January 1952), is a Greek psychiatrist, translator, poet and writer.

Sideris studied medicine at the University of Athens. He then settled in Paris for his postgraduate studies (specialising in Psychiatry, History and Neuropsychology-Neurolinguistics). He is a PhD of Panteion University Psychology Department and teaching psychoanalyst, member of the Strasbourg School of Psychoanalysis (E.P.S.) and the European Federation of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic School of Strasburg (FEDEPSY). He works as a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and family therapist in Athens.

His book “Children do not need psychologists. They need parents!” (Τα παιδιά δεν θέλουν ψυχολόγο. Γονείς θέλουν) became a non-fiction best-seller in Greece.

James McKeen Cattell

James McKeen Cattell (25 May 1860 to 20 January 1944), an American psychologist, was the first professor of psychology in the United States, teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, and a long-time editor and publisher of scientific journals and publications, including Science. He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public (SSP) from 1921 to 1944.

At the beginning of Cattell’s career, many scientists regarded psychology simply as a minor field of study, or as a pseudoscience which is a collection of beliefs or practices regarded as a scientific method when it is not such as phrenology. Considerably more than his peers, Cattell helped establish psychology as a legitimate science, worthy of study at the highest levels of the academy. At the time of his death, The New York Times credited him as “the dean of American science.” Yet Cattell may be best remembered for his uncompromising opposition to American involvement in World War I. His public opposition to the draft led to his dismissal from his position at Columbia University, a move that later led many American universities to establish tenure as a means of protecting unpopular beliefs.

Alejandro Rodriguez

Alejandro Rodriguez (February 1918 to 20 January 2012) was a Venezuelan-American paediatrician and psychiatrist, known for his pioneering work in child psychiatry. He was the director of the division of child psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and conducted pivotal studies on autism and other developmental disorders in children.

On This Day … 19 January [2023]

People (Deaths)

  • 1987 – Lawrence Kohlberg, American psychologist and academic (b. 1927).

Lawrence Kohlberg

Lawrence Kohlberg (25 October 1927 to 19 January 1987) was an American psychologist best known for his theory of stages of moral development.

He served as a professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Chicago and at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Even though it was considered unusual in his era, he decided to study the topic of moral judgment, extending Jean Piaget’s account of children’s moral development from 25 years earlier. In fact, it took Kohlberg five years before he was able to publish an article based on his views. Kohlberg’s work reflected and extended not only Piaget’s findings but also the theories of philosophers George Herbert Mead and James Mark Baldwin. At the same time he was creating a new field within psychology: “moral development”.

In an empirical study using six criteria, such as citations and recognition, Kohlberg was found to be the 30th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century.

On This Day … 18 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1932 – Robert Anton Wilson, American psychologist, author, poet, and playwright (d. 2007).

Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson (born Robert Edward Wilson; 18 January 1932 to 11 January 2007) was an American author, futurist, psychologist, and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognised within Discordianism as an Episkopos, pope and saint, Wilson helped publicise Discordianism through his writings and interviews.

Wilson described his work as an “attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth”. His goal was “to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything.”

In addition to writing several science-fiction novels, Wilson also wrote non-fiction books on extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, metaphysics, paranormal experiences, conspiracy theory, sex, drugs and what Wilson called “quantum psychology”.

Following a career in journalism and as an editor, notably for Playboy, Wilson emerged as a major countercultural figure in the mid-1970s, comparable to one of his co-authors, Timothy Leary, as well as Terence McKenna.

On This Day … 17 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1881 – Harry Price, English psychologist and author (d. 1948).
  • 1887 – Ola Raknes, Norwegian psychoanalyst and philologist (d. 1975).
  • 1945 – Anne Cutler, Australian psychologist and academic.

Harry Price

Harry Price (17 January 1881 to 29 March 1948) was a British psychic researcher and author, who gained public prominence for his investigations into psychical phenomena and exposing fraudulent spiritualist mediums. He is best known for his well-publicised investigation of the purportedly haunted Borley Rectory in Essex, England.

Ola Raknes

Ola Raknes (17 January 1887 to 28 January 1975) was a Norwegian psychologist, philologist and non-fiction writer. Born in Bergen, Norway, he was internationally known as a psychoanalyst in the Reichian tradition. He has been described as someone who spent his entire life working with the conveying of ideas through many languages and between different epistemological systems of reference, science and religion. For large portions of his life he was actively contributing to the public discourse in Norway. He has also been credited for his contributions to strengthening and enriching the Nynorsk language and its use in the public sphere.

Raknes was known as a thorough philologist and a controversial therapist. Internationally he was known as one of Wilhelm Reich’s closest students and defenders.

Anne Cutler

Elizabeth Anne Cutler FRS FBA FASSA (17 January 1945 to 07 June 2022) was an Australian psycholinguist, who served as director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. A pioneer in her field, Cutler’s work focused on human listeners’ recognition and decoding of spoken language. Following her retirement from the Max Planck Institute in 2012, she took a professorship at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University.