Politics, operant conditioning, Galileo, and the American Psychological Association's response to Rind et al. (1998)

Am Psychol. 2002 Mar;57(3):189-92.


The controversy surrounding B. Rind, P. Tromovitch, and R. Bauserman (1998) provides valuable lessons into scientific independence, politics, and organizational decision making. In an unprecedented action, the U.S. Congress officially condemned findings of Rind et al. Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association took similarly unprecedented measures in an effort to assuage its Congressional critics. This article, written from the perspective of a psychologist serving in Congress, discusses the various political and organizational dynamics that developed during the controversy. Understanding and learning from this incident can help psychologists and their professional associations better prepare for and respond to potential controversies arising from research or other publications.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Politics*
  • Psychology*