Does your mental health depend on who's paying your psychologist? Clearly not, but a new study has found that psychologists looking at the same evidence will interpret it differently, depending on whom they believed hired them.
Bias in psychologists hired to go to court could have an immense impact on defendants' lives. In many cases, psychological evaluations influence decisions about what sentences people deserve. Was the defendant's crime a one-time thing, punishable by a finite prison sentence, or is she a danger to society who should be locked away forever? Should the defendant go to a rehabilitation program as part of his sentence?
It's already known, of course, that lawyers may choose to call only experts who support their cases. So there's probably a biased sample of psychologists going on the stand in the U.S., anyway. But four psychologists from the University of Virginia and Sam Houston State University wanted to see if a large sample of psychologists, chosen without a side in mind, might also be vulnerable to bias.
The researchers recruited 99 forensic psychologists and psychiatrists, pretending that they wanted help with real cases. (Well, the cases files were real, but the forensic psychologists' evaluations wouldn't have an effect on the real defendants' trials.) The researchers gave each of the forensic experts the same four case files, but told half of them that the defense had hired them, while telling the other half that the prosecution was paying the bills. The cases the experts examined were for violent sexual offenders, whose sentences depend heavily on their perceived likelihood of reoffending.
On average, in most measures, the defense-hired experts came to significantly different conclusions than the prosecution-hired ones. This was using surveys that previous studies have shown work well—that is, a bunch of psychologists assessing someone using the surveys will generally come to the same conclusions—when they're not used in court.
"Most expert witnesses believe they perform their job objectively. These findings suggest this may not be the case," one of the researchers, Daniel Murrie of the University of Virginia, said in a statement. He and his colleagues' work points to a need for scientists to develop ways to reduce this bias, they wrote in a paper they published last week in the journal Psychological Science.
Until they invent a machine that shows "exactly" whats on another persons mind, I will forever see "Psychologists" as nothing more then glorified psychics and degree holding con men. One day, people will look back on these charlatans the same way we look at the ones from the past.
No man can see whats really in the mind of another man, and pretending you know someone's inner workings because of "patterns of behavior" is just as bad as predicting the future because of "patterns in the entrails" of some wild animal.
And this is precisely why, specially labor psychologists are stepping away from these sort of projective tests, firstly because typical answers are easily found on the net and because it has greater value to first interview somebody, identify skills or competencies via questions and definitions and the, maybe, cross reference with projective tests such as the rorschach, zulliger, person under the rain, tomkins, etc, etc.
The problem is that some psychologist think they can see inside the people´s mind but that anomaly is no different to a football player thinking he is good or a jet fighter thinking he has the best maneuvers, those are just narcissistic, self reference personality and such.
Try to get a successful team out of nothing without the support of a sports psychologist or a working team with specific competencies without a labor psychologist. Think about experiential therapy (not psycho analysis) to resolve depression or stress disorder without medication that artificially block the absorption of serotonin.
Among other things, I've been warning in comments on blogs for a long time about the swindle of “experts”. It's not just psychologists that will frame their answer based on who hired them. In physical injury cases, where the evidence would seem to be pat, defense attorneys have available to them the scam called the Independent Medical Examination”. It is literally called that. In other words, it's so patently obvious the “examination” is tailored to fit the crooked insurance carriers' claims that they have to entitle the swindle exculpatingly “independent”. It's not entirely unlikely at all that, if you say the letters “IME” among a group of plaintiff's attorneys, you will see more than a few eyes roll. It's like having someone claim they are telling the truth, all the while keeping their fingers crossed, in front of them, where it can be seen, and the judge saying, “Don't pay attention to the fact that the witness has their fingers crossed, you are required to believe every lie they say.” if someone went dancing, then was plowed into by a politician's drugged out kid and an x-ray showed the victim to have both legs completely pulverized to dust, there are “experts”, believe it, who will, for money, insist that the victim's legs being ground to dust was a “pre existing condition”! And, because the “expert” has a lot of letters after their name and, the New World Order demands that we believe, “scientists” are incapable of lying, many juries will believe it.
And psychology can merit its own chapter of discussion. Nowhere else is it permitted for there to be so many disparate, mutually distinct “theories”, from Freud's emphasis on fear and sex, to Skinner's mechanical reactions to Jung's dependence on fully formed personality archetypes. But another point needs to be raised, but never is. Many just barely on the other side of mentally normal seek out the help of psychologists, not one being aware that all psychological “theory” is based on case histories of deeply disturbed individuals. Everyone, from Adler to Jung to Freud fashioned their “theories” of the personality from the twisted machinations of all but murderously psychotic mental patients! There is no assay in the psychological community of what constitutes a truly normal personality, derived from normal people. Not that psychology says there is no meaning to normalcy, they just make their money from cobbling garbage from the behavior of maniacs, then acting like all people act that way.
I see, I see, so tell me how you feel really? And how do feel about your parents too?
How amusing. A few months back I served on a civil court case jury where both parties brought in numerous expert witnesses, including forensic psychologists. The first question each opposing attorney asked them was how much they earned. There were almost a dozen of these expert witnesses that testified, and it was shocking to hear that most of them earned well over $1M per year serving as expert witnesses.
The trial lasted 5 weeks. The plaintiff was suing for almost $30M in compensation. We (the jury) awarded her less than $20K.
lnwolf41 I am trying to understand why this is a surprise.The whole purpose of hiring the expert is to either confirm they are evil for the prosecutor or they are misunderstood by the defense. That is what they are getting paid for, not to give an honest answer.
Dear Ms. Diep,
The Rorschach images you are displaying are copyrighted. I know these images are commonly found on the internet, however, that does not make it right. You are perpetuating the practice of test compromise.