Friday, 24 August 2007

Psychological Monsters

Something to keep in mind. Something to help me keep my perspective, when I read about some of the unconscionable experiments various psychologists have subected people to.

From The AP
Lawyers have negotiated a settlement in a lawsuit filed by orphans who claim they were damaged emotionally after serving as subjects in a stuttering experiment at the University of Iowa more than 60 years ago.

A spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General's office said Friday the cases had been settled for $925,000.

The lawsuit, filed by former test subjects and estate representatives of those who have died, sought damages to offset the lifelong emotional, psychological and self-image problems caused by taking part in the 1939 study.
The experiment has come to be known as "The Monster Study" because of its methods and the theory researchers set out to prove — that stuttering is a learned behavior that can be induced in children.

Over a six-month period, Dr. Wendell Johnson, a nationally renowned pioneer in the field of speech pathology, and his staff tested his theory on 22 children who were in the care of the state-run Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home.

The children were placed into two groups, one the control group, the other the test group, which was subjected to steady harassment, badgering and other negative therapy in an attempt to get them to stutter.

Researchers concluded the experiment failed to cause children to stutter or develop other speech disabilities.

But the university kept the experiment and its methods under wraps for decades. It was not until 2001 when the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News published an investigative story about the study and its methods did the former subjects learn about the experiment's true purpose. The newspaper based its story on statements made by Mary Tudor, one of Johnson's former research assistants, who lived in California at the time the story was published.

The university apologized for the experiment in 2001.
The experiment happened only 19 years before I was born. The coverup lasted until it was blown, only 6 years ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This makes one wonder what it is about psychologists, especially those in the US, that makes them want to experiment with the lives of the innocent, even at the risk of the subjects' deaths or at least deep traumatization. Not to mention coverups, lies, the invention of bizarre theories that they then feel obliged to "prove" by whatever means available, regardless of the facts, and they perpetuate the Big Lies in order to justify the absurd and the insupportable. John Money and David Reimer, anyone?