Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

No-Bid Military Contract Winner Martin Seligman and His Response to Allegations on His Connection to Torture

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kevin Gosztola       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...)
Add to My Group(s)

Interesting 2  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 10/18/10

Author 7416
Become a Fan
  (66 fans)

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

Prominent positive psychologist Martin Seligman, whose work on "learned helplessness" was utilized by CIA interrogators on detainees (and directly fed into the development of a torture technique known as "confinement-in-a-box," according to the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)), was recently a beneficiary of a no-bid contract of $31 million to the University of Pennsylvania. Seligman heads the Positive Psychology Center at the University, which is headed by Seligman, to provide "resilience training" to U.S. soldiers.

The news of this award caught my attention because I earned the honor just over a year ago of being someone who received an automated letter from Seligman. The letter entered my inbox because I brought attention to his connection to CIA torture and human experimentation on detainees and the reality that psychologists had been complicitly involved.

- Advertisement -

The article Seligman responded to was titled, "Doctors Aided CIA Interrogators, Human Experimentation." It was a piece on the PHR report, "Aiding Torture," which mentioned Seligman. Seligman took issue primarily with this section, where I detailed PHR's claim that Seligman's "learned helplessness" research helped CIA develop torture techniques:

- Advertisement -

"Confinement in a box was devised as a direct appropriation of Martin Seligman's research on "learned helplessness." In fact, on at least two occasions, Seligman presented his learned helplessness research to CIA contract interrogators referred to in the Inspector General report. In Seligman's experiment, dogs were confined to boxes in which they discovered that familiar mechanisms of control would no longer have an effect in avoiding pain"

The man, who will now be teaching soldiers how to cope with the strain of multiple combat tours (in other words, repress the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) so they can live after war or continue to serve in the military), outlined his "knowledge" of the "torture controversy." Here is the entire letter (which has been sent in some form to others who have followed U.S. torture of detainees closely in the past years):

September 1, 2009

Here is what I know about the torture controversy:

- Advertisement -

I gave a three hour lecture sponsored by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency at the San Diego Naval Base in mid-May 2002. I was invited to speak about how American troops and American personnel could use what is known about learned helplessness to resist torture and evade successful interrogation by their captors. This is what I spoke about.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


- Advertisement -

Interesting 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

Kevin Gosztola Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

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

We Do Not Consent to Warrantless "Porno-Scanning" in Airports

Do They Put Lipstick on Pigs at the Funny Farm?

How Private Prison Corporations Hope Arizona's SB1070 Will Lead to Internment Camps for Illegals

Why the Battle Against TSA Groping and Body Scanners is Justified

Give Obama a Chance to Do What?