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History

Our department began as the Division of Applied Psychology, founded by Walter Van Dyke Bingham in 1915. The department was reshaped in the 1960s and became a major force in the just-developed field of cognitive psychology. Since then the department’s research portfolio has expanded to include not only cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, but also developmental, personality, social, health, and educational psychology. A 25 minute talk on the history of the department, presented by David Klahr at the reunion dinner on may 20, 2016 can be found here: Youtube

1915. Division of Applied Psychology is founded by Walter Dyke Bingham. Early faculty include L.L. Thurstone and Edward K. Strong Jr.

1921. Bruce Moore becomes the first student to earn a doctorate from the Division of Applied Psychology.

1924. Division of Applied Psychology is terminated, but the faculty of Psychology and Education continues.

1956. (January) Herb Simon walks into his graduate seminar and announces that "Over Christmas, Al Newell and I invented a thinking machine." About this event — which was the creation of a program called the Logic Theorist — Herb later wrote "[we] invented a computer program capable of thinking non-numerically and thereby solved the venerable mind-body problem, explaining how a system composed of matter can have the properties of mind."

1956. Herb Simon and Ken Kotovsky publish a paper in Psychological Review that demonstrates a correspondence between human and computer data on a cognitive task (solving series completion problems). This paper is the first example of a psychological theory stated in the form of a running computer program.

1963. The department offers a course entitled "Cognitive Processes" that "makes use of both experimental research and also of current efforts to model important aspects of thinking with programs for high speed computers."

1965. First Carnegie Symposium on Cognition. The topic is "Problem solving: Research, Method and Theory."

1966. The department offers its first course entitled "Developmental Psychology."

1968. Children’s school is founded.

1972. Newell and Simon publish their magnum opus (920 pages): Human Problem Solving . It currently has more than 15,000 citations.

1973. Lee Gregg becomes Department Head and leads the department into the modern era.

1973. The department offers its first course entitled "Cognitive Psychology."

1974. The only Carnegie Cognition Symposium to be held off-campus takes place in Vail, Colorado. Entitled Cognition and Instruction, it is the first of the symposia to focus on issues related to education.

1978. Simon wins the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Read his Nobel lecture here.

1980s. The department expands into the area of health psychology (Sheldon Cohen is hired in 1982).

1980s. The department begins to pursue the Parallel Distributed Processing approach to cognition (Jay McClelland is hired in 1984).

1980s. The department becomes active in the emerging field of cognitive neuroscience (Martha Farah is hired in 1985).

1985. Sheldon Cohen (with Thomas Wills) publishes seminal paper on Stress, Social Support, and the Buffering Hypothesis in Psychological Bulletin.

1990. Michael Scheier (with Charles Carver) publishes a prominent paper on the Origins and Functions of Positive and Negative Affect in Psychological Review.

1991. Sheldon Cohen (with David Tyrrell and Andrew Smith) publishes an important paper on Psychological Stress and Susceptibility to the Common Cold in the New England Journal of Medicine.

1992. Literacy in Science Center is established by a $950,000 grant from the A. W. Mellon Foundation. The focus on basic processes in science and math education. Participants include: John Anderson, Patricia Carpenter, Marcel Just, David Klahr, Allen Newell, and Robert Siegler.

1994. Vicki Helgeson publishes an influential paper on the Relation of Agency and Communion to Well-Being in Psychological Bulletin.

1994. The Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) is founded to foster interdisciplinary research on the neural mechanisms of cognitive function.

1998. Carnegie Learning is founded by a team including John Anderson and Kenneth Koedinger. This company commercialized CMU research on adaptive tutors, and is acquired by the Apollo Group in 2011.

2002. CMU acquires its first fMRI scanner.

2004. The Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center (CMU PI Michael Scheier) is founded to foster interdisciplinary research on the role of behavior in physical health.

2004. CMU’s doctoral training program and curriculum in interdisciplinary education research (PIER) is established through a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences, with the participation of several departments across campus, including Psychology, Statistics, HCII, Philosophy, Machine Learning, and Robotics, among others.

2014. CMU introduces an undergraduate major in neuroscience.