Presidential Column

Happy Birthday APS

The American Psychological Society is now two years old. In August of 1988 a small but hearty group of pioneers transformed the newly-established ASAP into the APS and, as they say, the rest is history. Well, not quite. The organizational structure was established quickly. But the development of APS to a national scientific organization with a Washington office and over 10,000 members has involved a lot of planning and a lot of just plain hard work. The accomplishments of our first two years are nothing short of remarkable.

But, one could properly ask what else should have been expected? Why shouldn’t an organization developed to serve the aims of psychological scientists be expected to have a substantial membership? After all, APS did not invent academic/scientific psychology. As we all know, scientific inquiry into psychological processes was initiated in the latter half of the 19th century. And, as we also all know, APS was not the first American organization established to promote academic/scientific psychology. The first precursor was established a hundred years ago. The aims of APS are deeply rooted in those early scientific and organizational developments. In China, an infant’s first birthday is celebrated on its day of birth. That is, the gestation period is officially acknowledged. APS has had a very long gestation period —one that no doubt accounts, in large measure, for its early maturity. In any case, happy birthday APS, and with respect to membership renewals (which will be sent out shortly), many happy returns.

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