More than a century ago, the American Psychological Association was founded in Worcester with the lofty goal to use psychology to "benefit society and improve people's lives." But these days, the American Psychological Association is struggling to explain how it strayed so far from that noble mission.
A new report alleges that, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, some of the organization's top leaders deliberately relaxed A.P.A. ethics guidelines to allow psychologists to take part in coercive interrogation programs — otherwise known as torture — carried out by the Bush Administration.
Nadine Kaslow, former president of the American Psychological Association. She is on the committee in charge of the independent review, as well as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine. She tweets @NKaslow.
- "But a new report alleges that the association’s leaders — including Harvard-affiliated academics at the top of their field — strayed dramatically from those lofty goals when they worked with the Department of Defense to draft ethics guidelines loose enough for psychologists to participate in harsh interrogation techniques in America’s war on terror. The outside review concluded that two of the association’s former presidents — Gerald Koocher, a psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Ronald Levant, who taught at Harvard and Boston universities — were 'intimately involved' in coordinating the association’s policies to line up with Pentagon preferences."
- "A report based on leaked emails from a CIA contractor suggests the American Psychological Association may have worked with the Bush administration to offer legal and ethical justification for what many say was torture."
- "The A.P.A. position was the diametric opposite of the American Medical Association’s and the American Psychiatric Association’s. The AMA’s and APA’s 2006 policies specifically prohibited their members from having any role in interrogations. The 2005 APA ethics policy specifically endorsed a role in interrogations for psychologists."
This segment aired on July 21, 2015.