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 Martha Mitchell (the wife of John Mitchell
in the Nixon administration
) who alleged that illegal activity was taking place in the White House
. 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.
- 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