470–399 Socrates – Socrates has been called the father of western philosophy, if only via his influence on Plato and Aristotle. Socrates made a major contribution to pedagogy via his dialectical method and to epistemology via his definition of true knowledge as true belief buttressed by some rational justification.
470–370 Democritus – Democritus distinguished between insufficient knowledge gained through the senses and legitimate knowledge gained through the intellect—an early stance on epistemology.
460 BC – 370 BCE – Hippocrates introduced principles of scientific medicine based upon naturalistic observation and logic, and denied the influence of spirits and demons in diseases.
387 BCE – Plato suggested that the brain is the seat of mental processes. Plato's view of the "soul" (self) is that the body exists to serve the soul: "God created the soul before the body and gave it precedence both in time and value, and made it the dominating and controlling partner." from Timaeus
c. 300–30 Zeno of Citium taught the philosophy of Stoicism, involving logic and ethics. In logic, he distinguished between imperfect knowledge offered by the senses and superior knowledge offered by reason. In ethics, he taught that virtue lay in reason and vice in rejection of reason. Stoicism inspired Aaron Beck to introduce cognitive behavior therapy in the 1970s.
123–43 BCE – Themison of Laodicea was a pupil of Asclepiades of Bithynia and founded a school of medical thought known as "methodism." He was criticized by Soranus for his cruel handling of mental patients. Among his prescriptions were darkness, restraint by chains, and deprivation of food and drink. Juvenal satirized him and suggested that he killed more patients than he cured.
c. 50 – Aulus Cornelius Celsus died, leaving De Medicina, a medical encyclopedia; Book 3 covers mental diseases. The term insania, insanity, was first used by him. The methods of treatment included bleeding, frightening the patient, emetics, enemas, total darkness, and decoctions of poppy or henbane, and pleasant ones such as music therapy, travel, sport, reading aloud, and massage. He was aware of the importance of the doctor-patient relationship.
c. 100 – Rufus of Ephesus believed that the nervous system was instrumental in voluntary movement and sensation. He discovered the optic chiasma by anatomical studies of the brain. He stressed taking a history of both physical and mental disorders. He gave a detailed account of melancholia, and was quoted by Galen.
93-138 – Soranus of Ephesus advised kind treatment in healthy and comfortable conditions, including light, warm rooms.
c. 130–200 – Galen "was schooled in all the psychological systems of the day: Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, and Epicurean" He advanced medicine and was a skilled physician. Galen proposed that people's moods were determined by the balance among four bodily substances. He also distinguished sensory from motor nerves and showed that the brain controls the muscles.
c. 390 – Nemesius wrote De Natura Hominis (On Human Nature); large sections were incorporated in Saint John Damascene's De Fide Orthodoxia in the eighth century. Nemesius' book De Placitis Hippocratis et Platonis (On the Doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato) contains many passages concerning Galen's anatomy and physiology, believing that different cavities of the brain were responsible for different functions.
5th century – Caelius Aurelianus opposed harsh methods of handling the insane, and advocated humane treatment.
c. 423–529 – Theodosius the Cenobiarch founded a monastery at Kathismus, near Bethlehem. Three hospitals were built by the side of the monastery: one for the sick, one for the aged, and one for the insane.
c. 451 – Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople: his followers dedicated themselves to the sick and became physicians of great repute. They brought the works of Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Galen, and influenced the approach to physical and mental disorders in Persia and Arabia
625–690 – Paul of Aegina suggested that hysteria should be treated by ligature of the limbs, and mania by tying the patient to a mattress placed inside a wicker basket and suspended from the ceiling. He also recommended baths, wine, special diets, and sedatives for the mentally ill. He described the following mental disorders: phrenitis, delirium, lethargus, melancholia, mania, incubus, lycanthropy, and epilepsy
1215–1277 Peter Juliani taught in the medical faculty of the University of Siena, and wrote on medical, philosophical and psychological topics. He was personal physician to Pope Gregory X and later became archbishop and cardinal. He was elected pope under the name John XXI in 1276.
c. 1214 – 1294 Roger Bacon advocated for empirical methods and wrote on optics, visual perception, and linguistics.
1240 – Bartholomeus Anglicus published De Proprietatibus Rerum, which included a dissertation on the brain, recognizing that mental disorders can have a physical or psychological cause.
1247 – Bethlehem Royal Hospital in Bishopsgate outside the wall of London, one of the most famous old psychiatric hospitals was founded as a priory of the Order of St. Mary of Bethlem to collect alms for Crusaders; after the English government secularized it, it started admitting mental patients by 1377 (c. 1403), becoming known as Bedlam Hospital; in 1547 it was acquired by the City of London, operating until 1948; it is now part of the British NHS Foundation Trust.
1317–40 – William of Ockham, an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian, is commonly known for Occam's razor, the methodological principle that the simplest explanation is to be preferred. He also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology, advancing his thoughts about intuitive and abstracted knowledge.
1433–1499 Marsilio Ficino was a renowned figure of the Italian Renaissance, a Neoplatonist humanist, a translator of Greek philosophical writing, and the most influential exponent of Platonism in Italy in the fifteenth century.
c. 1450 – The pendulum in Europe swings, bringing witch mania, causing thousands of women to be executed for witchcraft until the late 17th century.
1590 – Scholastic philosopher Rudolph Goclenius coined the term "psychology"; though usually regarded as the origin of the term, there is evidence that it was used at least six decades earlier by Marko Marulić.
c. 1600–1625 – Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author, and pioneer of the scientific method. His writings on psychological topics included the nature of knowledge and memory.
1677 – Baruch Spinoza died, leaving Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, Pt. 2 focusing on the human mind and body, disputing Descartes and arguing that they are one, and Pt. 3 attempting to show that moral concepts such as good and evil, virtue, and perfection have a basis in human psychology.
1781 – Immanuel Kant published Critique of Pure Reason, rejecting Hume's extreme empiricism and proposing that there is more to knowledge than bare sense experience, distinguishing between "a posteriori" and "a priori" knowledge, the former being derived from perception, hence occurring after perception, and the latter being a property of thought, independent of experience and existing before experience.
c. 1800 – Franz Joseph Gall developed cranioscopy, the measurement of the skull to determine psychological characteristics, which was later renamed phrenology; it is now discredited.
1807 – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel published Phenomenology of Spirit (Mind), which describes his thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectical method, according to which knowledge pushes forwards to greater certainty, and ultimately towards knowledge of the noumenal world.
1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage had a 3-foot rod driven through his brain and jaw in an explosives accident, permanently changing his personality, revolutionizing scientific opinion about brain functions being localizable.
1856 – Hermann Lotze began publishing his 3-volume magnum opus Mikrokosmos (1856–64), arguing that natural laws of inanimate objects apply to human minds and bodies but have the function of enabling us to aim for the values set by the deity, thus making room for aesthetics.
1891 – Edvard Westermarck described the Westermarck effect, where people raised early in life in close domestic proximity later become desensitized to close sexual attraction, raising theories about the incest taboo.
1903 – John B. Watson graduated from the University of Chicago; his dissertation on rat behavior has been described as a "classic of developmental psychobiology" by historian of psychology Donald Dewsbury.
1911 – William McDougall, founder of Hormic Psychology published Body and Mind: A History and Defence of Animism, claiming that there is an animating principle in Nature and that the mind guides evolution.
1928 – [Shoma Morita] published Morita Therapy: The True Nature of Shinkeishitsu (Anxiety-based Disorders), which contains his peripheral theory of consciousness, while noting Freud's theory of the unconscious. (Translation by A. Kondo, Edited by P. LeVine in 1998, SUNY Press)
1929 – Edwin Boring published A History of Experimental Psychology, pioneering the history of psychology.
1935 – Theodore Newcomb began the Bennington College Study, which ended in 1939, documenting liberalization of women students' political beliefs, along with the effects of proximity on acquaintance and attraction.
1936 – Kenneth Spence published an analysis of discrimination learning in terms of gradients of excitation and inhibition, showing that mathematical deductions from a quantitative theory could generate interesting and empirically testable predictions.
1939 – On Sept. 1 World War II began with the German invasion of Poland; on Sept. 20 Adolf Hitler signed the Euthanasia Decree, written by psychologist Max de Crinis, resulting in the Aktion T4 euthanasia program; on Sept. 23 Sigmund Freud committed physician-assisted suicide in London on the Jewish Day of Atonement; on Oct. 31 his archrival Otto Rank died of a kidney infection in New York City after uttering the word "comical"; Wilhelm Reich fled to New York, coining the word orgone and building "orgone accumulators", which got him in trouble with the psychiatric establishment and the federal government.
1947 – Jerome Bruner published Value and Need as Organizing Factors in Perception, founding New Look Psychology, which challenges psychologists to study not just an organism's response to a stimulus but also its internal interpretation.
1949 – Donald Hebb published The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory, in which he provided a detailed, testable theory of how the brain could support cognitive processes, revolutionizing neuropsychology and making McGill University a center of research.
1951 – Morton Deutsch published Interracial Housing: A Psychological Evaluation of a Social Experiment, producing scientific evidence of the bad effects of segregated housing, helping to end it in the U.S.
1954 – Paul E. Meehl published a paper claiming that mechanical (formal algorithmic) methods of data combination outperform clinical (subjective informal) methods when used to arrive at a prediction of behavior.
1954 – Herman Witkin published Personality Through Perception, which claims that personality can be revealed through differences in how people perceive their environment; he went on to develop the Rod and Frame Test (RFT).
1955 – J. P. Guilford developed the Structure of Intellect (SOI) theory, which divides human intelligence into 150 abilities along three dimensions, operations, content, and products; it is discredited by the 1990s.
1962 – Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer proposed the two-factor theory of emotion, which considers emotion to be a function of both cognitive factors and physiological arousal; "People search the immediate environment for emotionally relevant cues to label and interpret unexplained physiological arousal."
1968 – Walter Mischel published the paper "Personality and Assessment", criticizing Gordon Allport's works on trait assessment with the observation that a patient's behavior is not consistent across diverse situations but dependent on situational cues.
1973 – The Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the American Psychiatric Association was officially founded to advocate to the APA on LGBT mental health issues; in 1985 it changed its name to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists.
1977 – Susan Folstein and Michael Rutter published a study of 21 British twins in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry that reveals a high genetic component in autism.
1977 – Robert Plomin et al. proposed three major ways in which genes and environments act together to shape human behavior, coining the terms passive, active, and evocative gene-environment correlation.
1978 – The Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the American Psychiatric Association, (now known as the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists) successfully petitioned the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to create a task force on lesbian and gay issues; it was elevated to a full standing committee in the APA in 1988.
1979 – Alice Miller published The Drama of the Gifted Child, the first of a series of books criticizing Freud and Jung for blaming the child for the sexual abuse of the parents, which she calls the "poisonous pedagogies".
1980 – Robert Zajonc published the paper "Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need No Inferences", arguing that affective and cognitive systems are largely independent, and that affect is more powerful and important, reviving the study of emotion and affective processes.
1982 – The Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) was recognized as a representative in the APA assembly, speaking directly on matters of special concern to lesbian and gay members.
1991- The American Psychoanalytic Association (APA) passed a resolution opposing "public or private discrimination" against homosexuals. It stopped short, however, of agreeing to open its training institutes to these individuals.
2012 – In 2009 America's professional association of endocrinologists established best practices for transgender children that included prescribing puberty-suppressing drugs to preteens followed by hormone therapy beginning at about age 16, and in 2012 the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry echoed these recommendations.
2013 – On April 2 U.S. President Barack Obama announced the 10-year BRAIN Initiative to map the activity of every neuron in the human brain.
2013 – DSM-5 was published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Among other things, it eliminated the term "gender identity disorder," which was considered stigmatizing, instead referring to "gender dysphoria," which focuses attention only on those who feel distressed by their gender identity.
2015 – The journal Psychology Today announced that it will no longer accept ads for gay conversion therapy, and is deleting medical practitioners who list such therapy in their professional profiles.°
August 27, 2015 – A team led by Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia published an article in Science that revealed that only 39 of 100 studies published in major psychology journals could be replicated.
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