In a stunning confirmation of George Santayana’s adage that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it*, the New York Times reports that none of the Bush cabinet members, including then-CIA director George Tenet, knew that the “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” (SERE) methods they used while interrogating inmates at Guantanamo and other “off-shore” prisons, had been developed decades before by the US military, “to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.” Continue reading CIA Didn’t Know History of SERE
In the fall 2007 issue of the American Journal of Psychology, an article by Roger Thomas (U. Georgia) presented the cases of five erroneous stories that frequently appear in history of psychology textbooks. The episodes included (1) what Santayana really said about people who don’t know the past, (2) the events surrounding Pavlov’s mugging in New York in 1923, (3) Broca’s 1861 “discovery” of a speech center in the brain, (4) the misrepresentation of Morgan’s canon, and (5) the reasons Descartes gave for locating the soul in the pineal gland.
The first of these, although a relatively minor error, is particularly ironic in the context. Continue reading Common Errors in History of Psychology Textbooks