As we recently reported on AHP a new book on the infamous case study of H.M. has subjected this work to increasing scrutiny, especially with respect to the actions of psychologist Suzanne Corkin, chief H.M. researcher who also served as gatekeeper of other researchers’ access to H.M. Corkin died in May of this year, while H.M. (now known to be Henry Molaison) died in 2008.
Backlash against Luke Dittrich and his book, Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets, has been growing since a lengthy piece adapted from the book appeared in the New York Times Magazine last week. (Further pieces on Dittrich’s book can be found on Psychology Today and the NYTMag’s Science of Us, among many other sources.) Particularly controversial have been three points: (1) reports that Corkin destroyed the records related to H.M.; (2) claims that Corkin suppressed reports of an additional lesion in H.M.’s brain; and (3) questions regarding the appropriateness of appointing a a non-relative as H.M.’s conservator.
Dr. James DiCarlo, head of the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has written a letter to the New York Times disputing these claims. Additionally, reports are circulating that a group of roughly 200 neuroscientists have written to the Times claiming that Dittrich’s work “contains important errors, misinterpretations of scientific disputes, and unfair characterizations of an MIT neuroscientist who did groundbreaking research on human memory” (from here; also see here and here for more). The letter signed by this group can be read in full here.
In response to DiCarlo’s claims Dittrich has written a post for Medium outlining his position and evidence regarding each claim. Included in Dittrich’s post is a 7-minute audio clip from an interview he conducted with Corkin wherein she can be heard asserting that records concerning H.M. were destroyed. The audio can be heard here.
TheGuardianrecently published a piece looking back on the history of Genie, the so-called feral child whose horrendous treatment at the hands of her father made headline news in the 1970s. The fact that Genie had been raised without language or basic social skills also attracted the attention psychologists interested in understanding language development. As The Guardian recounts, however, it was not long before Genie fell out of the public eye and out of the reach of researchers. Her fate today remains something of a mystery.
The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology has launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the National Museum of Psychology at the Center. In just a few days the campaign has raised more than $17,000 of their $250,000 goal. Donations at every level come with rewards, including a number of fun history themed items (Stanford Prison Experiment t-shirt anyone?) and the opportunity to sponsor an aisle of the archives, a table in the reading room, and more.
Head on over to Kickstarter to back the project and help #KickstartHistory! (And don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and colleagues about this worthy and important endeavour!)
As TheNew York Times reports, Winston Mosesley has died in prison at the age of 81. Mosesley infamously raped and murdered Kitty Genovese in New York City in 1964. The story that 38 bystanders stood by and did nothing as Genovese pled for help during the attack inspired the development of the “bystander effect” within psychology, which describes the diffusion of responsibility that occurs when events are witnessed by multiple individuals. That 38 bystanders in Genovese’s case witnessed the attack and did not intervene, however, has been discredited. (For more on the Genovese case see here.) The full New York Times piece, which describes the Genovese case and its historical significance, can be read online here.
Observations, part of the Association for Psychological Science’s magazine the Observer, has announced that the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a National Museum of Psychology. The campaign will begin at 3pm April 13th and “the crowdsourcing project plans to reward donors with autographed copies of APS Fellow Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect, naming opportunities in the museum’s reading room, a trip to the museum’s grand opening, and more.” As Observations reports,
The museum hopes to engage audiences on a personal, intellectual, and scientific level. “We have the unique ability and responsibility to tell the story of what it means to be human, through the acquisition, preservation, and presentation of iconic objects, manuscripts, and media,” said Baker. “As a Smithsonian Affiliate, we are honored to take part in the long-standing tradition of insuring that our nation’s history remains relevant and is preserved with the utmost respect to the bold men and women who were pioneers of this exciting discipline.”
As we mentioned previously on AHP a special IamPsyched! Museum Day Live exhibit is planned for March 12th at the APA Capitol View Conference Center. The event, “Inspiring Histories, Inspiring Lives: Women of Color in Psychology,” is a collaboration between the American Psychological Association Women’s Programs Office, the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron and Psychology’s Feminist Voices Oral History and Digital Archive Project, in partnership with the White House Council on Women and Girls. The initiative aims to “immerse museum-goers in the histories of women of color in psychology and their legacies for contemporary psychology.” The event will feature a curated, interactive exhibit, a live-streamed interactive discussion, and empowering activities for girls. Full details can now be found on exhibit’s webpage.
In advance of the big day you can also join in the social media excitement by pledging your support on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr through Thunderclap. This platform allows social media postings to be pre-scheduled and unleashed all at once, like an online flash mob. When you sign up to share the IamPsyched! message, it will automatically post just this one message on your behalf. Go here to schedule your Tweet or Facebook post now!
Bandura is a Canadian, born in Alberta. He attended the University of British Columbia for his BA, before moving to the University of Iowa for graduate study. He has been a professor at Stanford since 1953.
The APS announcement of Bandura’s award can be found here.
Well it’s been a long haul, but it’s official. The Pentagon has ended their use of psychologists in the Guantánamo Bay prison.
The post-Hoffman Report AGM in Toronto this past summer saw the association executive taken to task by the membership for ongoing failure to enforce increased ethical requirements initiated in 2008’s Petition Resolution.
The media should be praised for contributing external pressure through exposure of the association’s collusion with American governmental agencies in ways that violate international human rights agreements as established by the UN, including interrogation programs run by the CIA under the Bush administration. As reported in the NY Times, a FBI-led High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, founded under the Obama admin, is the only part of the current government to have expressed concern over the APA’s new adherence to their own policies. Here’s hoping that doesn’t prove to be cause for real concern moving forward.
The Times’ piece also succinctly covers the association’s internal climate re. this most recent turn of events:
Some current and former military psychologists have been critical of the A.P.A. ban, saying it is so broadly written that it could make it difficult for them to work professionally in almost any national security setting. But advocates of the ban say it had to be written in a way that would close what they believe were longstanding loopholes in the organization’s ethics guidance.
Below please find a reverse chronology of our extensive APA torture coverage from throughout the era in which these developments occurred (It is our sincere wish to be able to end the series with this post):
In honour of Ada Lovelace day, a quick feature of Dafne Almazán–who at the age of thirteen has been awarded a degree in psychology this month by the prestigious Mexican university Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey! This past summer, Almazán was named on Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful women in Mexico, and she is now being lauded by internationaloutlets as the world’s youngest psychologist (a title to which, as far as we know, the addendum “of all time” could be added!?).
Dafne has expressed interest in researching bullying, but has also asserted that any professional practice she undertakes in psychology will have to wait as she’s intending to pursue graduate work in education.
Her impressive achievement of an advanced degree as a minor is only one of a variety of accomplishments including being an active pianist, practicing Taekwondo, and holding a teaching level proficiency in Mandarin. Go Dafne!!