Back to the Future! Psychology in the last 30 years.

The beloved film Back to the Future came out 30 years ago and since then, October 21, 2015 (TODAY!!) has been a somewhat mythical and looming date for those who grew up knowing this classic film. Parties are happening all over the country and you can even see the film tomorrow in select cinemas.

We thought, seeing as today is BttFD (Back to the Future Day), it would be a great time to look at psychological advances in the last 30 years. Our fields has come so far in the last 30 years, below we highlight some of our most important milestones and game-changers.

1986 Albert Bandura published Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. A Seminal work in the field still used widely today.

1987 Homeless Assistance Act provided the first federal funds allocated specifically for the homeless population. The act included provisions for mental health services, and responded, in part, to psychological studies on homelessness and mental disorders.

1990 Cultural psychology emerges as a field. Jerome Bruner fleshes out this new field that focuses on the influences and relationship among mind, cultural community and behavior.

1990 The World Health Organization (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

1991 Steven Pinker introduced his theory of how children acquire language, later detailed in The Language Instinct.

1992 Joseph LeDoux summarized and published his research on brain mechanisms of emotion and emotional learning.

2000 The Human Genome fully mapped, paves way for more specific research into the brain.

2002 Steven Pinker publishes The Blank Slate, arguing against the concept of tabula rasa.

2013 Only 13 years after the mapping of the entire human genome, President Obama announced the 10-year BRAIN Initiative to map the activity of every neuron in the human brain.

Along with all of these monumental achievements in the field of psychology, we are also enjoying a time like none before for research. With the advent of the internet we are able to access more journals and find authors more easily than ever. The online world has also given researchers much larger pools of participants to draw from. Not only can we now find participants who match criteria more easily, but we can take what was once a weeks-long process and break it down to just a few minutes with online survey and analysis tools.

No hover-boards yet… but keep your eyes peeled.


Photo Courtesy of JD Hancock


About the Author:


Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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