Article ID: CBB377237221

The Hoffman Report in historical context: A study in denial (2022)


Using the concept of social denial, this article puts the American Psychological Association's (APA’s) pattern of willful blindness, identified by independent reviewer David Hoffman, in historical context by examining the contributions of Cold War social scientists to the CIA's KUBARK torture manual, and discusses the implications of this history for the reform of the APA's ethics policies. David Hoffman found that the leadership of the APA colluded with Department of Defense (DoD) to ensure that the APA's ethical policies were no stronger than those issued by the DoD. While the independent reviewer did not find evidence of collaboration between the CIA and the APA, this was not due to a lack of effort on the part of the APA, which was anxious to establish good relations and so promote the use of psychology in the national security arena. While Hoffman did not find that the APA knew that its collaborations would facilitate the development of abusive interrogation techniques, it showed a marked, motivated lack of interest in whether or not the DoD or CIA was abusing prisoners. The APA maintained its strategic ignorance even while engaging in a public relations campaign designed to give the impression that it was deeply concerned about multiple reports of psychologist involvement in a system of torture. This willful ignorance was not unprecedented and follows a predictable pattern of knowing and not-knowing to which all psychologists should attend.

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Article Nadine Weidman (2022) Introduction: The Hoffman Report in historical context. History of the Human Sciences (pp. 3-6). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Lawrence P. Rockwood
Galloway, Gerard E., Jr.
Julie Passanante Elman
Krista L. Rodkey
Michael W. Hankins
Jack O’Brien
History of the Human Sciences
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Twentieth-Century British History
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
Cornell University Press
Air University Press
Yale University Press
University of Minnesota Press
New York University Press
Duke University Press
Psychology and war
Science and war; science and the military
McCoy, Alfred W.
Boyd, John Richard
Weil, Vivian
Whitbeck, Caroline
Milgram, Stanley
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
15th century
United States
Great Britain
United States. Central Intelligence Agency
American Psychological Association
United States. Department of Defense
United States Air Force (USAF)
United States Space Force (USSF)
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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