Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
4 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Conspiracies and the Martha Mitchell Effect

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H3 5/28/09

Become a Fan
  (4 fans)

opednews.com

John Mitchell was the Attorney-General during the Nixon administration.

His wife - Martha Mitchell - told her psychologist that top White House officials were engaged in illegal activities. Her psychologist labeled these claims as caused by mental illness.

Ultimately, however, the relevant facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her.

In fact, psychologists have now given a label - the "Martha Mitchell Effect" - to "the process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient's perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly".

The authors of a paper on this phenomenon ( Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. (2003) Beliefs About Delusions. The Psychologist, 6 (8), 418-422) conclude:

Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness [due to a] failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician.
In other words, psychologists who haven't taken the time to examine for themselves the claims of their patients will tend to label as delusional anything which they "intuitively" feel is improbable.

Many psychologists - just as Martha Mitchell's - will tend to assume any claim of conspiracy is improbable. However, conspiracies are actually common occurences which are well-recognized by the law.

Psychologists are even more apt to label government conspiracies as improbable. However, as Martha Mitchell's psychologist learned, they do happen. Watergate, for example, was a conspiracy.

Psychologists who have attempted to label as delusional those who raise the possibility of government conspiracies do not have even a basic understanding of the Martha Mitchell Effect, or have not examined whether or not there is any factual basis for their patient's claims.

Obviously, some people are delusional, and see conspiracies where none exist. But it is equally true that when millions of scientists, military leaders, historians, legal scholars, intelligence officials and other rational people say the government is lying, psychologists who dismiss similar claims by their patients are falling prey to the Martha Mitchell Effect. They are too busy and/or arrogant to actually examine their assumptions as to whether or not the claims which feel improbable to them are true.

 

George Washington


As a political activist for decades, I have rejoiced in victories for the people and mourned in defeats. I chose the pen name "George Washington" because - as (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Indonesian Health Minister Says Swine Flu Might Have Been Man-Made | Epidemiologists and Virologists Need to Weigh In

Obama Is Considering Doing Something Even Bush Didn't Try: "Preventive Detention" of People Who Will Never Get a Trial

How To Solve the Economic Crisis

The Four Reasons the Mainstream Media Is Worthless

5 Reasons that Corporate Media Coverage is Pro-War

U.S. Officials Admitted that Boys Were Sodomized In Iraq Prison

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

is often done by those guilty of the conspiracy in... by Elizabeth Molchany on Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 10:17:25 PM
[[IMG7]]... by Nemo on Friday, May 29, 2009 at 12:19:24 AM
I do not.  It reminds me of Abu Graib and the... by Elizabeth Molchany on Friday, May 29, 2009 at 9:32:49 AM
Please, Doctor, I'm not CRAZY...I just READ AL... by Bia Winter on Friday, May 29, 2009 at 10:13:33 AM