Appendix 40b - Put to the Test

by Michael Greger, MD and United Progressive Alumni

[ Medical School Resources | Appendices | Discussion ]

[Psychiatry] is not a scientific discipline- Harvard University law professor Alan M. Dershowitz[464]

Twenty-five psychiatrists were split into two groups. They all listened to a tape of an actor acting in the picture of mental health, but one group is given the preamble that the person on the tape, "was a very interesting man because he looked neurotic, but actually was quite psychotic." The control group wasn't told anything. The two groups of psychiatrists were asked for a most likely diagnosis based on the tape. No one in the control group diagnosed psychosis, but in the experimental groups given the preamble, diagnoses of psychoses - most commonly schizophrenia - were made by 60 per cent of the psychiatrists.[465]

What if you take 290 psychiatrists evaluating a transcript of a patient interview and tell half of them that the patient is black, and tell the other half that the patient is white? As reported in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, "Clinicians appear to ascribe violence, suspiciousness, and dangerousness to black clients even though the case studies are the same as the case studies for the white clients."[466]



[464] "Clash of Testimony in Hinckley Trial Has Psychiatrists Worried Over Image" The New York Times, 24 May 1982:11.

[465] Temerlin, MK. "Suggestion Effects in Psychiatric Diagnosis." Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 147(1968):349-353.

[466] Loring, M and B Powell. "Gender, Race and DMS-III." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 29(1988):1-22.



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