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Martha Mitchell effect


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A misinterpretation of a person's justified belief as a delusion, often by a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or general practitioner. The term was introduced in 1988 by the English-born US psychologist Brendan A(rnold) Maher (1924–2009) in a chapter in a book entitled Delusional Beliefs that he co-edited. [Named after Martha Beall Mitchell (1918–75), wife of the US Attorney General John Mitchell at the time of the Watergate scandal in 1972, who accused the White House of using her husband as a scapegoat to protect President Richard Nixon. She was widely believed to be deluded, although her allegations were eventually vindicated]


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