XVII Internatonal Congress of Psychology
August 20 - 26, 1963, Washington, DC
The 17th International Congress of Psychology, Washington, USA, 1963
Organization of the congress
The 17th International Congress of Psychology was organized by the American Psychological Association and took place in Washington, DC, from August 20 to 26, 1963, at the Mayflower Hotel. Otto Klineberg was President and Edwin G. Boring was Honorary President. Table 8.3 presents the main organizers of this congress.
The total registration (members and associates) reached 1902, including approximately 600 participants from abroad (Piéron, 1963 , p. 597) representing 45 different countries . An innovation of particular interest at this congress was the introduction of the “Young Psychologists’ Program”. Twenty-two promising young psychologists, one from nearly every member society of the Union who, by and large, would have been unable to attend this meeting, were nominated by their own society and received a travel grant donated by individual American psychologists, or by professional societies and other organizations. The Union also contributed to this fund. The goal of the organizers was that “both the youthful vigor of our science (as well as) international cooperation and understanding (would) be fostered” (Proceedings of the XVIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1964 , p.v.).
|17th Congress, Washington, 1963: Congress participants outside the venue.
Organizational structure: 17th International Congress of Psychology (Washington, 1963)
Carl Pfaffmann, Chair, Brown University
Eugene Jacobson, Vice-Chair, Michigan State University
Charles W. Bray, Chair, Local Arrangements Committee, Smithsonian Institution
Leonard Carmichael, Smithsonian Institution
Meredith Crawford, Chair, Finance Committee, Human Resources Research Office, Alexandria
Henry P. David, Dept of Institutions & Agencies, State of New Jersey
George Ferguson, McGill University
Robert MacLeod, Cornell University
Donald G. Marquis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Donald G. Marquis, Chair, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daniel Katz, Vice-Chair, University of Michigan
Clyde H. Coombs, University of Michigan
George Kelly, Ohio State University
Donald B. Lindsley, University of California, Los Angeles
Robert MacLeod, Cornell University
Noël Mailloux, Université de Montréal
Financial support for the congress came from multiple sources, including the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. The first meeting of the Steering Committee took place in Washington, on December 17, 1960. John Darley, at that time Executive Officer of APA, participated actively in the early planning, and his successor, Arthur Brayfield continued his support.
The opening session of the congress was held on Tuesday evening, August 20, followed by a reception. Dr John T. Wilson, a psychologist recently appointed Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, brought to the congress words of greetings from the President of the United States. González Solaz (1998 , pp. 105–106) notes with surprise that these presidential greetings, reproduced in the congress proceedings (Proceedings of the XVIIth International Congress of Psychology, 1964 , pp. 2–3), are specifically oriented toward the field of mental retardation. After welcome addresses by Carl Pfaffmann, Leonard Carmichael, Charles Osgood (the President of APA), and Otto Klineberg, Edwin Boring gave the presidential address entitled “Eponym as placebo.”
Thirty-three symposia constituted the core of the scientific program. They covered topics of current interest in psychology, ranging from psychophysiology to personality and social psychology. There were also 12 sessions of submitted papers. Table 8.4 lists the topics of the symposia.
Four distinguished psychologists presented evening lectures: Gordon W. Allport (“The Fruits of Eclecticism: Bitter or Sweet?”), Jerzy Konorski (“On the Mechanisms of Instrumental Conditioning”), Ivo Kohler (“The Concept of Adaptation in Perception”), and Joseph Nuttin (“Time Perspective in Human Motivation and Learning”).
Many visits were arranged for the participants. They included the National Institute of Mental Health, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, St Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the Smithsonian Institution. Social activities, such as a tour of the White House, an evening at the National Gallery of Art, a picnic at the Woodland Plantation, and a boat trip to Mount Vernon, were also arranged for the enjoyment of the congress participants. It must be noted that all participants from abroad were invited, at least once, to dinner in the home of one of their American colleagues.