"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, April 30, 2015

CIA Chief Bought Seligman Children CIA Logo T-Shirts

Dr. Martin Seligman is the co-developer of resiliency training methods that have been adapted and adopted by KIPP and other No Excuses charter schools to both pacify and motivate school children who never suspect that they are subjects of psychological experiments conducted by untrained non-professionals.  

Despite information in Jane Mayer's 2009 book, The Dark Side . . ., that suggested a significant involvement by Seligman in shaping CIA interrogation techniques during the years of Bush II, Seligman has denied any involvement beyond a single lecture in 2002:
I gave a three hour lecture sponsored by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency at the San Diego Naval Base in mid-May 2002. I was invited to speak about how American troops and American personnel could use what is known about learned helplessness to resist torture and evade successful interrogation by their captors. This is what I spoke about.
Today the New York Times has news of new report detailing the involvement by the American Psychological Society in the CIA torture program.  Included are a number of fascinating emails that point to deep and ongoing collaboration among APA members, the CIA, and White House officials.  Below is the last paragraph of one such email.   

At the end of an email from March 30, 2004 from Kirk Hubbard (Chief of Operations of the Operational Assessment Division of the CIA) to Susan Brandon (NIH), Dr. Geoffrey Mumford (then­-APA Director of Science Policy), and Scott Gerwehr (RAND Corporation contractor), Hubbard is grousing about having budgeting issues in his department at the CIA (my bolds):

My office director would not even reimburse me for circa $100 bucks for CIA logo t­shirts and ball caps for Marty Seligman's five kids! He's helped out alot over the past four years so I thought that was the least I could do. But no, has to come out of my own pocket! And people wonder why I am so cynical!
That one lecture must have been a doozy!


  1. Here's more on APA's relationship with the CIA:

    ..and remember this?

  2. According to Risen's "Pay Any Price," Seligman never got the promised T-shirts. Hubbard decided not to shell out the money. I think teachers who administer Common Core tests are resorting to the same Nuremberg defense as the psychologists: following government orders