About “Psychology Gone Wrong” in “The Skeptical Intelligencer”

Prof. Michael Heap who is the Editor of Quarterly Magazine of the Association for Skeptical Inquiry Skeptical Intelligencer in Vol 18, 2015, Number 3, (Autumn) published his impressions entitled What’s wrong with Psychology? Among others he wrote also about our book:

The failings of modern psychology are the subject of a recent book by Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonoski entitled Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Sides of Science and Therapy (Boca Raton FL: BrownWalker Press, 2015). The authors are founding members of the Polish Skeptics Club. Dr Witkowski is a psychologist and Dr Zatonski is a surgeon working in the UK. In their book they review the history of fraudulent research and questionable research practices; the willingness of many psychologists to embrace pseudoscientific ideas and practices (psychoanalysis, recovered memory therapy, projective testing, NLP, etc.); exaggerated claims for the efficacy of psychological interventions; and so on.  In each case the authors support their thesis with abundant references.

Some readers may find the authors’ style rather uncompromising and without balance (e.g. in their account of ‘the Burt affair’ which was discussed in the Skeptical Adversaria, 2012 (2); Burt does have his defenders). Also, quite a number of the frauds that the authors describe are from disciplines other than psychology and it may be argued that the authors’ complaints are characteristic of science generally (though I think there is a strong case for looking at psychology for particularly instructive examples of ‘science gone wrong’). Readers will wish that the authors included an index and I would advise that when the second edition is in preparation, a good proof reader is employed (the authors should be congratulated on producing an easy-to-read book but even the most forgiving of readers will not excuse the number of errors in the text).

For professional psychologists, students and anyone who needs a working knowledge of academic and applied psychology (which includes all skeptics) this is an important book and I thoroughly recommend it.


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