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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Martha Mitchell effect

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. They note that typical examples of such situations, may include:
1. Pursuit by practitioners of organized crime
2. Surveillance by law enforcement officers
3. Infidelity by a spouse
Any patient, they explain, can be misdiagnosed by clinicians, even one with a history of paranoid delusions.

Psychologist Brendan Maher named the effect after Martha Beall Mitchell.[2] Mrs. Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Attorney-General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House officials were engaged in illegal activities, her claims were attributed to mental illness. Ultimately, however, the relevant facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her.

Martha Mitchel effect on wikipedia

Thanks 43folders

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