Welcome to the website of the Society for the History of Psychology (SHP), Division 26 of the American Psychological Association (APA). We are an international organization of scholars, teachers, and members whose interests and scholarship are concerned with understanding the historical events and important people who have shaped the development of psychological thought and practice.
Statement in Response to the Hoffman Report
Written by the Executive of Division 26
The Executive Committee of the Society for the History of Psychology, Division 26, is deeply concerned about the revelations that have come to light following the release of the Independent Review by David Hoffman of the relationship between APA leadership and the US Defense Department. For those of you who may not have had a chance to read this review yet or have not seen the media reports, the report and extensive supporting materials as well as a statement by the APA is available here: http://www.apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx
We condemn the actions of key APA leaders, actions described in the Hoffman Report as collusion "to support the implementation by DoD of the interrogation techniques DoD wanted to implement, without substantial constraints from APA" (p. 68).
As historians of psychology we are more than aware of the long history of psychology's relationship with the armed forces, especially in times of war. However, the crass collusion between the APA and DoD against the wishes of a large majority of the membership is not only troubling but difficult to reconcile with this history of constructive cooperation. The executive of the division strongly urges the establishment of regulations and procedures designed to more effectively impede politically motivated actions such as those that were taken in this instance by elected and appointed members of the leadership. In addition, we support the placement of hard conflict-of-interest policies and governance constraints on appointed officials. Finally, we call for a clear apology to be issued to all those who consistently raised concerns about APA's actions with respect to interrogation programs but were criticized and rebuffed for their efforts.
We appreciate that there will be a diversity of views in the division and thus we do not speak on behalf of everyone. However, as the elected executive of Division 26 we feel it is important to state our views clearly. We welcome further discussion on our listserv (email@example.com) and will forward the concerns of the membership to the APA leadership through our council representative, Cathy Faye, or through the executive, as needed.
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