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Martha Mitchell effect

The Martha Mitchell effect is a process by which a belief is mistakenly diagnosed as a delusion by a psychiatrist. This is named after the wife of the attorney general who alleged that illegal activity was taking place in the Whitehouse. At the time her claims were thought to be signs of mental illness, and only after the Watergate scandal broke was she proved right (and hence sane).

It was first named by psychologist Brendan Maher.

Further Reading

Maher, B.A. (1988) Anomalous experience and delusional thinking: The logic of explanations. In T. Oltmanns and B. Maher (eds) Delusional Beliefs. New York: Wiley Interscience



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