Founded in 1894 by Alfred Binet (1857-1911), L’Année Psychologique [Annual Journal of Psychology] was the first French journal devoted exclusively to scientific psychology. It was among the first journals of psychology published in the world. Only a few were available at the time : Philosophishe Studien, founded in 1881 by Wilhelm Wundt; the American Journal of psychology, founded in 1887 by Granville Stanley Hall, the Zeitschrift für Psychologie, founded in 1890 by Hermann Ebbinghaus and the Psychological Review, founded in 1894 by James McKeen Cattell and James Mark Baldwin.
The founding of L’Année Psychologique was closely linked to the institutionalization of French psychology. Théodule Ribot’s election to the chair of Experimental and Comparative Psychology at the Collège de France in 1888 marked the official emancipation of psychology in France. Because there was no laboratory associated with the chair, Henry Beaunis (1830-1921), a physiological psychologist from Nancy, proposed to Ribot the creation of the first French laboratory of experimental psychology (1889). Under Beaunis’s direction, this laboratory was established at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1893 the laboratory’s research was first published in a yearly journal named Travaux du Laboratoire de Psychologie Physiologique (2 volumes published in 1893 and 1894). Binet, who joined the laboratory in 1891, was not satisfied by the form of this publication and took the initiative of publishing a new journal. With Beaunis’s agreement, he then founded L’Année Psychologique in 1894 [the first yearbook was published in 1895] to develop the reputation of the laboratory’s research.
In his first years, the journal was connected to a single research institution: the laboratory of Experimental Psychology in Paris, whose successive directors were in charge of the journal and have guaranteed its high scientific level in publishing their own work. After Binet’s death (1911), Henri Piéron (1881-1964) became editor of L’Année Psychologique, a position he held for more than 50 years. In 1952, the journal came out in two volumes. After Piéron’s death (1964), Paul Fraisse (1911-1996), his successor at the head of the laboratory, was appointed as the new editor of the journal. In 1984, L’Année Psychologique became a quarterly journal of experimental psychology. In 1995, Juan Segui was the new editor of the journal. Between 2003 and 2005, Ludovic Ferrand shared the direction of the journal with Segui; in 2006, he became the Scientific Director (until 2017) while Serge Nicolas was appointed Editorial Director, representing Paris Descartes University. The international openness of the journal materializes in September 2012 by becoming a bilingual journal (French / English) and taking the subtitle “Topics in Cognitive Psychology”. The policy of opening up the publication of research work in English is pursued by the new Scientific Director Pascale Colé since 2017.