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Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Boston Globe, The American Psychological Association, and Torture

What has happened to the Globe?

Where are your science reporters? In town this week were many thousands of Psychologists from around the world presenting their psychological findings at more than 1000 sessions. As of this morning, the Globe could only muster four stories coming out of the convention. Only one of those was about a scientific psychological finding -- one abortion does not impair a woman's mental health. You didn't even report that Barbara Meltz received an APA award. The other three articles in the Globe were about the upcoming vote on psychologists aiding torture.

I am embarrassed that we psychologists are even having the conversation. Surely the rule "do no harm applies" and it doesn't need a PhD in psychology to tell an interrogation team whether it is disobeying the lax torture rules acceptable to this administration or not. Furthermore a single psychologist is unlikely to have much influence on such a team -- he or she would soon succumb to the groupthink shared by the other team members.

So no psychologist should be involved in these interrogations -- period.

Sent to the Boston Globe

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