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The Fathers of Psychology

Psychology was not considered a science until Professor Wilhelm Wundt was granted some storage space at the University of Leipzig in the German Confederation. It was supposed to be used for lab equipment. The equipment is fairly standard for the field of behavioral psychology... except that there is no such thing as behavioral psychology yet and there are no standards. He publishes a textbook entitled "Principles of Physiological Psychology," but he gets no traction, so he opens up an experimental lab on the University grounds... an unauthorized lab. His experiments reveal how the mind makes decisions, how it remembers. We are talking "rats through a maze" kind of stuff here. He is not the kind of doctor who will listen to your troubles. He has his own troubles. His colleagues believe that psychology is a pastime of idle philosophers, but the Professor is gaining student support. He will expand into 11 rooms and eventually an entire building called the Psychological Institute. In the United States the first psychologist will be William James. He will be a pain in the backside. He is not going to like this experimental stuff. Who cares what that ink blot looks like? His approach is more introspective and much more pragmatic. But for now, William James is pulling his own life together. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The majority of psychologists are in the United States. I have personally benefited from William James's work, but I do not recommend reading him. His book, "Varieties of Religious Experience" is not a comprehensive look at the religions of the world, but rather how the human mind experiences the spiritual. For example, he describes how the process of conversion works. I think he nails it, but for the person who is going through the conversion experience, it is not helpful at all. In fact, it will just goof you up. But if you are trying to understand how different people experience religion, check it out. On the movie side of psychology, "Flowers for Algernon" (2000) is a film made from a short story about a man named Charlie who sweeps up around the lab because he can't do much else. His mind is damaged. The Professor is running mice through a maze, but when he hits on a method to increase the mental capacity of Algernon the Mouse, Charlie has a chance to be smart... genius smart. The film is a remake of an earlier film entitled "Charly" (1968) starring Cliff Robertson who usually played the big, strong, man-of-action sort. It was originally rated "X" due to its adult content... meaning that the film actually covered adult subjects. The movie rating system was just coming online and "X" had not yet become a euphemism for pornography. [3] [4] [5]

In Other News

  • Universal Time zones are proposed. Sanford Fleming misses his train, so he proposes a 24-hour universal time standard. Several "universal" standards will be adopted because no single authority can impose such a standard. They are are close enough for train schedules, though. [6] [7]
  • Thomas Edison patents the incandescent light bulb. It lasts for 13 hours. It is designed as part of a larger system including a generator. He also produces a sign that reads "Do not attempt to light with match." Training the public will take some time. [8] [9]
  • Professor Von Linde founds what will be called Linde Air Products. He separates gasses used in refrigeration and welding, but years later his company will build a plant in New York to separate out the uranium used for the Manhattan Project... the first atomic bomb. [10]
  • Paper money is now redeemable for gold! After the War Between the States and the Great Depression, now called the Long Depression, the Secretary of the Treasury is trying to get the economy under control so he limits the amount of paper money printed and boost the confidence in it by making it redeemable for gold upon request. These bills will eventually become Silver certificates and then in 1968, just paper. [11]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1879, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Wilhelm Wundt - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 September 2016. “The University of Leipzig assigned Wundt a lab in 1876 to store equipment he had brought from Zurich. Located in the Konvikt building, many of Wundt's demonstrations took place in this laboratory due to the inconvenience of transporting his equipment between the lab and his classroom. Wundt collected many pieces of equipment such as tachistoscopes, chronoscopes, pendulums, electrical devices, timers, and sensory mapping devices and was known to assign an instrument to various graduate students with the assignment of developing uses for future research in experimentation.”
  2. Psychology: European Edition. Google Books (Dec 9, 2011). Retrieved on 27 September 2016.
  3. Flowers for Algernon (TV Movie 2000) - IMDb. imdb.com (2016). Retrieved on 27 September 2016. “Charlie Gordon is mentally handicapped and all he wants in life is to be a genius. When he gets picked for experimental surgery it looks like his dream may finally come true.”
  4. Charly (1968) - IMDb. imdb.com (2016). Retrieved on 27 September 2016. “An intellectually disabled man undergoes an experiment that gives him the intelligence of a genius.”
  5. Motion Picture Association of America film rating system - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 September 2016. “This content classification system originally was to have three ratings, with the intention of allowing parents to take their children to any film they chose. However, the National Association of Theater Owners urged the creation of an adults-only category, fearful of possible legal problems in local jurisdictions. The 'X' rating was not an MPAA trademark and would not receive the MPAA seal; any producer not submitting a film for MPAA rating could self-apply the 'X' rating (or any other symbol or description that was not an MPAA trademark).”
  6. Sandford Fleming - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “After missing a train in 1876 in Ireland because its printed schedule listed p.m. instead of a.m., he proposed a single 24-hour clock for the entire world, located at the centre of the Earth, not linked to any surface meridian.”
  7. Universal Time - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “niversal Time (UT) is a time standard based on Earth's rotation. It is a modern continuation of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), i.e., the mean solar time on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, London, UK. In fact, the expression 'Universal Time' is ambiguous (when accuracy of better than a few seconds is required), as there are several versions of it, the most commonly used being Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and UT1 (see below).[1] All of these versions of UT, except for UTC, are based on Earth's rotation relative to distant celestial objects (stars and quasars), but with a scaling factor and other adjustments to make them closer to solar time. UTC is based on International Atomic Time, with leap seconds added to keep it within 0.9 second of UT1.”
  8. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 438-439. 
  9. Incandescent light bulb - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “They conclude that Edison's version was able to outstrip the others because of a combination of three factors: an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than others were able to achieve (by use of the Sprengel pump) and a high resistance that made power distribution from a centralized source economically viable.”
  10. The Linde Group - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Uranium used to produce the United States' first atom bombs from 1942 to 1948 was processed by Linde Air Products in Tonawanda, New York.”
  11. United States Note - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 September 2016. “On May 31, 1878, the contraction in the circulation was halted at $346,681,016 – a level which would be maintained for almost 100 years afterwards. While $346,681,016 was a significant figure at the time, it is now a very small fraction of the total currency in circulation in the United States. The year 1879 found Sherman, now Secretary of the Treasury, in possession of sufficient specie to redeem notes as requested, but as this brought the value of the greenbacks into parity with gold for the first time since the Specie Suspension of December 1861, the public voluntarily accepted the greenbacks as part of the circulating medium.”

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