Who is the Most Influential Person in the History of Psychology?

Every once in a while a person or publication will try to rank the most influential people in the field of psychology, past and present. Inevitably each list delivers different results, so we want to bring the question to you. Fromm? Freud? Frasier? Who gets your vote? Is there a place on the list for popular culture?

We would love to hear who you think is the most influential person in the history of psychology and why. Please comment.

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Meet the MMSE & MMSE-2 Authors: Marshal F. Folstein, MD & Susan E. Folstein, MD

What made you decide initially to develop the Mini-Mental® State Examination (MMSE)?

We developed the MMSE to solve a clinical problem on a geriatric psychiatric inpatient service. The diagnoses of patients on our unit included depression, dementia, delirium, and occasional late-life schizophrenia. We needed a practical quantitative cognitive exam in order to aide clinicians in determining the severity of cognitive impairment ranging from mild to severe and to document improvement or decline.

At the time, Susan was a psychiatry resident rotating on the geriatric psychiatric unit where I (Marshal) was a junior attending. Always a perfectionist, she was not happy when I repeatedly asked for cognitive information that she had not asked about. So she asked me to write down all the items that I wanted her to include.

What made you decide to update it and create the Mini-Mental® State Examination, Second Edition™ (MMSE®-2™)?

Over the years, students and other users made many suggestions about how to improve the MMSE. There was a need to clarify the instructions so that certain tasks were administered; there was a need for phrases that were more easily translated into other languages; and users requested multiple forms in order to minimize practice effects with serial administration. In addition, we had long wanted to develop a shorter version that could be given very quickly in busy clinical settings, and also a longer version that would eliminate ceiling effects. We wanted this longer version to be more sensitive than the original MMSE to disorders of executive function and to the kinds of memory impairment found in mild cognitive impairment.

What would you like to tell people about the MMSE-2 that they may not know?

The MMSE-2 Standard Version scores are equivalent to the original MMSE scores. We took care that subjects tested during development scored the same, regardless of whether they were given the original MMSE or the MMSE-2 Standard Version. Longitudinal studies currently underway can switch to the new version without any adjustment to scores. The original, unrevised MMSE is still available if users do not want to change to the revised versions.

How do you spend your free time?

Marshal takes flute lessons and is trying to improve his photography. Susan enjoys gardening and reading spy novels, biographies, Jane Austen, and Patrick O’Brian. She has a new job at the University of Miami School of Medicine with a joint appointment in psychiatry and in the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. We both like to write and watch old movies.

Screen for cognitive impairment with a revised version of the most widely used cognitive status exam...

Psychologists by the Numbers

34

The percentage of psychologists who are self-employed—mainly as private practitioners.*

12

The percentage of employment growth expected between 2008 and 2018 for the overall field of psychology. Clinical, counseling, and school psychology are expected to grow about 11%, while industrial-organization psychology is expected to grow 26%.*

6,800

The projected number of additional neuropsychologists that will be needed by 2018 to keep up with demand.*

2

The number of states that currently allow appropriately-trained psychologists to prescribe medications (Louisiana and New Mexico).*

170,200

The number of jobs held by psychologists in 2008.*

0.270

The percentage of the employed population who are psychologists in New Mexico, the state with the highest concentration of psychologists. Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Connecticut all have concentrations of more than 0.1% of their respective populations.*

$87,130

The annual mean wage for psychologists in New Jersey, the top paying state for psychologists.*

93,000

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Workforce Studies, the number of practicing psychologists in the U.S.

31

The number of psychologists who are members of a union.*

*Information from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.