On December 2, the American Psychiatric Association's board of trustees voted on the latest revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to be published as the fifth edition (DSM-5) in May 2013. The results of the vote have not been released publicly, and some have questioned the limited press coverage of decisions that will affect people worldwide who receive psychiatric diagnoses. Dr. Allen Francis, chair of the DSM-IV revision committee, says that the board "has given its final approval to a deeply flawed DSM 5". (The title of this post is also drawn from this link.) [more inside]
Being gay was considered a mental disorder by psychiatry - until 1973 - when the battle lines were drawn. Reporter Alix Spiegel continues the gripping story that spurred a radical rethink. It's the story of a closeted cartel of powerful, gay psychiatrists; of confrontations with angry activists; a shrink dressed in a Nixon mask, and a pivotal encounter in a Hawaiian bar. [more inside]
Before the internet, nerds communicated through Amateur Press Associations (APAs). Members wrote and photocopied their individual 'zines on a subject, then mailed them to a central mailer, who collated and mailed the completed sets to all the members. The earliest APAs were founded by printers and amateur journalists. The National Amateur Press Association is the oldest, founded in 1876. Later APAs were often the province of science fiction and comic book fans. They are still around [pdf]. A lot more inside... [more inside]
Psychology Group Changes Policy on Interrogations. The American Psychological Association has adopted a measure prohibiting its members from participating in interrogations of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay and other military prisons where detainees have been tortured (previously). [Via Paper Chase]
Mercedes Allen looks at who's in charge of deciding the fate of Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV. The APA (American Psychological Association) has announced it's intention to revise the DSMV (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The expert they've named to chair revisions on sexuality and gender is Kenneth Zucker. Zucker is the major remaining proponent of Reparative Therapy for LGBT folks. [more inside]
Citing the organization's "sharp shift in values and direction," Ken Pope, prominent member of the American Psychological Association (and a former chair of its Ethics Committee), resigned his membership on February 6. He's the latest of a growing number of professional psychologists who have quit APA in protest of its position on the use of psychologists in government interrogations in the "War on Terror."
Is there anything good about men? In this address to the American Psychological Association, psychologist Roy Baumeister suggests that women have historically had a much greater chance of reproducing than men, and that this has had a profound influence on the way their respective roles in society have evolved:
For women throughout history (and prehistory), the odds of reproducing have been pretty good. Later in this talk we will ponder things like, why was it so rare for a hundred women to get together and build a ship and sail off to explore unknown regions, whereas men have fairly regularly done such things? But taking chances like that would be stupid, from the perspective of a biological organism seeking to reproduce. They might drown or be killed by savages or catch a disease. For women, the optimal thing to do is go along with the crowd, be nice, play it safe. The odds are good that men will come along and offer sex and you’ll be able to have babies. All that matters is choosing the best offer. We’re descended from women who played it safe....For men, the outlook was radically different. If you go along with the crowd and play it safe, the odds are you won’t have children. Most men who ever lived did not have descendants who are alive today. Their lines were dead ends. Hence it was necessary to take chances, try new things, be creative, explore other possibilities.
Rorschach and Awe. "America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
The war continues over people against the ever-dreaded video game! It's a long article, but definitely worth a read (later on they talk about people giving noiseblasts to other people just to see them squirm, teehee).