Security and civil rights; Dr. Marie Jahoda
These people pay much more than any law Vyas had come to restrict that and tell your thinking and social life to a much lower level of performance. For instance we felt so self-conscious about some of the books they had at home that they did away with their books you know they hid them in the background are some things like this. One person even went ahead and burned some books. That was the voice of Dr. Marie Hoda professor of psychology at New York University reporting on a survey she directed to determine the personal and psychological effects of a security loyalty program upon the average government worker. Doctor you horrible not present this person in study by New York University Center for Human Relations and the eighth program in this series. Security and civil rights. Security and civil rights is produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUNM under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational
broadcasters. To introduce our topic for today. And our special guest authority here is the consultant and commentator for security and civil rights a member of the law faculty of Columbia University. Professor man mad person. Among the important aspects of our security program is its impact upon those people even those who are not in any kind of trouble or whose lives would bear the closest scrutiny. There is a psychological dimension to the security program which we should like to discuss with you today. One of the most costly aspects. Of the security program could very well be an excess of caution on the part of our citizenry. Not only can our people become politically afraid politically timid in the sense that they are even unwilling to participate in ordinary partisan political activity but a
government servant. Who fears that his reports may be characterized as pro-communist may be tempted to gild the lily a little bit and change the truth somewhat to make the report's more palatable though false in order to avoid any kind of personal stigma pone himself. To discuss with us today some of the psychological dimensions of the security program in so far as those psychological dimensions have an impact upon all government employees. Is Dr. Mary Yoda. A professor of psychology and assistant director of the center of human relations studies at New York University. Dr. Hugh hota is interviewed by Mr. Philip Gallo producer of this program and the interview took place at New York University's Human Relations Center. Just briefly about the center here and the kind of work
I like to research center for human relations. It sparked off the Department for us I couldn't hit New York University who is doing ok to stop this in social psychology in a number of areas. For instance on desegregation problems some contact between Negro and might be there on the queue. It's on conformity issue was also doing the gun problem still with us and that was from store in this country when they come over here for a visit and doing an awfully interesting project on the lucky addiction among adolescents in New York City and only study. We tried to give as much chance as possible to our graduate student to learn social psychology in a realistic fashion not only in the chaos form but getting that research training.
When I did a study for years ago which kind of curl in an area that we are either people so far and that is the fact that kind of security and right and hearing is not just to the people in Iran directly involved but to the innocent bystander would you tell us about. Well. Yeah actually did this. We talked in Washington to professional people in government employment the idea are finding out why there was any notice to bit influence on them from the loyalty and security measures. Now these were very intensive interviews all done by a very well trained psychologist. And the overall In nature of the ideas that came out from this is that
the security and loyalty procedures really did have serious impact which I personally feel is an impact which in the end must lower the quality of the administered if service this country gets in Washington better how to be more concrete about it. We found out that these are federal employees range to very high ranks and went over all possible government departments. Whether they approved or disapproved of the loyalty procedures were affected by them and we found actually quite a few who said there were serious mistakes and they felt that the security problem was not handled well while others felt it was ideal just what they had always dreamt about. But in the pendant of this position and independent of their political preferences most of these people showed signs of serious impact
round the area in which we could notice. This was that these people much more than any law required us had come to restrict that and tire thinking and social life to a much lower level of performance. For instance they felt so self-conscious about some of the books they had their tour that they did away with their books you know they hid them in the background are some rather foolish things like this one person even went ahead and burned some books. What's perhaps more important for government services that they said gripe clearly in this interview was that many of them refused to bring up subjects for discussion in their professional capacities which they ordinarily really should discuss. Showing their father not their best thinking was any longer available to the government. Oh they stopped subscription to
newspapers they dropped out of organizations they dropped out of organizations which weren't even on the Attorney-General's list. And when you ask them ride their arms around the organization isn't there now but what do I know about in six months or a year from now it might get on the list. So you see this general curtailment this was run of the effects and that's an effect. Ross there be the brainwashing net that time very clearly marked areas where groups of people of whom one became suspicious we found out that people for instance was foreign sounding names Jews or negros. People who joined organisations became the target for suspicion for our. Everybody else who heard pointed in his horn set it right and become more cautious now. This
indicated that a group of people against whom there was really no official accusation and I'm quite sure the government wouldn't run them to be suspect it never the less became suspected there's an unintended consequence of the general security climate which I think is a real threat to our democratic concept and democratic notions. Better I want to tell you all sure that. We didn't found one or two interesting and hopeful things we assume perhaps rather naively in the beginning that the generals and the general restriction of behavior would be most severe in departments like the Atomic Energy Commission and believed so in the Library of Congress or the Veteran's Administration. Now interestingly enough this isn't a time we talk about the degree of impact does not depend on the
sensitivity of the word. But he does very much depend on the ethic you taking by a person supervisor if you had a feeling or general trust and confidence. If the supervisor for person would say look I take you on your value. If there are difficulties I'll stick by you. Then even on the more sensitive areas you got of course respect for the necessary security. But you didn't get this unlimited and really irrational fear and this Gary based self imposed restrictions which prevented people from functioning as well as they showed us earlier. Yes some slight variation. It doesn't really occur now as are special areas. Let's run awfully interesting study about which you might know which
was concerned was your entire diet population of the country this is a study made by Sam Starr from Harvard which came out in a book communism come from media and civil liberties. In the general population by and large you see a tendency to growl along reason Amine Fromm and unknowing condemnation of things which aren't Orthodox Starfire for instance discovered that I think only run two percent of the population said that they really were seriously interested concerned with problems like communism or civil liberties. Nevertheless even though there's a minute fraction who is concerned about it practically everybody has an opinion and the opinions are extreme. It's lame to the extent that a very high percentage of people suggested for
instance that communists shouldn't even be permitted to be sales clerk in department stores. They only had very outspoken views so at least the great majority had outspoken views on what should happen to on Earth ADOX people like atheists they were very restrictive in their prescriptions. But you can have to keep in mind these people actually didn't know what they were bragging about how this is different different in the government study. We found everybody saying security procedures are necessary but a lot of the people saying they're handled in a wrong way a person a Spanish even if he's completely innocent he still gets suspended for a year and there are serious mistakes and loss of income and all the rest of this. Now nevertheless they said some security procedures of course necessary in government service are not flying in the
general population you didn't get this amount of insight in what the problems were. You didn't get anybody frightened that the Russians will take us over tomorrow. Nevertheless you got this rather extreme opinions which worked or the general pattern of greater confront media and less respect from an orthodoxy in the country than I personally think is compatible with our values in this country in any time. We're saying more research to confront. Yes actually the enormous number of experimental psychologic a starbase trying to deal with this phenomenon and a few of them are great outstanding and brilliant even though I slightly object to our psychologists being so much more concerned with
finding out about come from it. Then we are always finding out about independence. But in any case let me tell you about run which I think is the most ingenious and interesting experimentation in the area. This started being run down by Professor Salamone ashit Rossmore college. He was interested in finding out the nature of the impact of group pressures and majority opinions on the judgment of our individual people. Now I run about they didn't they said right. He had a group of students say 7 or so to explain the purpose of his experiment he said he wanted to find out about group pressures. He said he would ask the students a simple task to judge the lengths of lines and ask the students to give that churchmen very easy churchmen really
first. They saw the actual situation but then he explained he was going to invite a naive person who hadn't been in on this first discussion and that he wanted to see how this naive person reacted to the group pressure. So he instructed use orig. go after the first two trials to get deliberately to say for example that the shot the line rushed along the line and right he wanted to discover of us how these naive subjects reacted. Now the response to this experiment was actually a rhyming in the amount of conflict it produced in every single subject the subject felt that something unheard off and terrible had happened actually about a third of the people rushed thunderstruck by the disagreement with the majority of the
group that they went over to the other side and gave judgment. Clearly in contradiction to what they could see with their own eyes. The Ulster people showed all the signs of conflict and were as great a motional Rice really stood up to it and could still give an independent judgement on this very simple business. But really nobody remained uneffected it now Rob this experiment shows any sexually. There are probably several of us are so wrong terribly under the pressure. Our group opinion that we are only feel inclined to disregard Iraq our own independent judgment in favor of what the majority says. Now as the Asch experiment shows some people stand up better than others are under the pressure. But the existence of the pressure should make us
restfully careful about breaking the general climate in the contrary is a really indication of what is happening in individual minds. If you are interested in this actually ash introduce the very nice variation in his experiment with again the slightly more optimistic implication. He said to his original group of about seven people run or a few will now or should act as if you are a supporter of that naive person we are going to get in. So while the large majority still continues to give long arms us just run off you will just before it comes to the knife subject will give the right answer. I would actually happen across that under this condition. The majority effect was virtually eliminated. Let's just say the knowledge that even one person of your own opinion then asked to speak out publicly.
But then so much emotional support for people that they are then ready to come out with their own best judgement. This has of course a very clear implications for our own behavior. In real life and in the political and social debates in which all of us engage and it puts particular responsibility on the people who have the courage and the strength to speak out when they have an independent opinion. For proof of this. Right right. It's much in line. With threats to our national security
threat. You told me that you talked to a number of wonderful people some are from I know from the greatest respect I'm certainly not going to condemn them scum from Istria and I haven't really had an altercation to figure out what's in their thinking so I wouldn't want to make a psychological judgment about them. But the subject in itself actually is of great interest to me. Can I just beg your question and go half on the subject. Look it's price I know the FBI has made a statement to the effect that there are about 28000 organized Communists now in the country. Now I personally have confidence that the FBI knows these twenty eight thousand communists and their knowledge
is to me some safeguard of our security. Twenty thousand people by the way I'm not a number are which I think a country of some hundred and eighty million people need to be frightened if the company knows about it stands far and has a conviction which is put into the institutions and practices of our way of life. So I personally. Oh Royce very much surprised when I see this. For running our internal sabotage I think that I personally would only wish to run my government to look out for a possible sabotage. And I know this happens in every company I know there are people ready to commit treason in every country but as long as you have somebody concerned professionally professionally and not in an amateurish ready rush knowing crash acuity is really involved.
I can't get myself to be frightened of these 28000 communists I feel that some sort of queer confirmatory phenomenon by which many good people in this country have managed to convince themselves that at least 28000 people are. 200 times as strong as they possibly could be and if you look at very many of these ex-communist as for instance militia unstressed done in his book about them you get the utter conviction that these round traitors who run into a political movement risk the intention of committing treason to their own country. They may have been misguided and ladder Flem by our national upset for this was an awfully nice re-offer rebelling against their will to do far better sir something of that nature. And many of them enter press the notion in the Depression period that
this was a terrible thing for the company and you have us run group thinking about a better society. So I personally feel that these ex-communists do not present any real danger to the country. Now whether or not there's an international danger and I shouldn't speak about this because I am not a politician and I really am only a psychologist but rather are not there is an international danger depends on the imagination and the leadership that we have in international affairs. But I don't want to go off on that subject. MR. Sucess protection
protections. Well let's a really difficult question I almost wish she wouldn't have asked me this but and I can really only argue from a number of ways some of the things we know a little better from limited psychological experiments. We do know that when it feels threatened from the outside and the only circumstances even a small gang in the street or a small group of students ever the small group when it itself threatened from the outside without police begins stalling first. A much internal confirming that's the same as the lefse and the relative security.
Differences of opinion can be tolerated as soon as some of the people feel there's an external threat that begins this insistence on bringing must stick together. We must be round like the answer. Now that I'm sure it's one reason now about the external threat that actually exists I'm really not qualified to speak I just have my opinions as many as our ordinary citizen but run psychological fact to be kept in mind and that is that this country is really relatively young in international politics. That is to say the period our relative isolation from the rest of the world is certainly some 30 years ago where Schnur experience proves the leadership that has for going to a place can play in international relations and we do and this is arguing again by analogy that where you have insecurity
and lack of experience the sensor for that danger is much and harms. So it may just be that in the people who set up these procedures the insecurity about what to do in this new leadership role in international relations. Has led to an exaggeration of the danger and the turbulence as we know for instance from the ash experiments and from a lot of other studies that once a person in North America sets a pet them like making it necessary that fraud charge which has no bearing whatsoever on security matters that are to be a security check once this is a stud bullishness the bringing down by our salad. People just tend to drift along and they don't really only drift but not knowing the inside thinking they themselves exaggerate. So we have seen in the country this rather disheartening
picture of some measures being in storage for whatever reason and private groups pressure groups organisations and individuals picking up from there and making it more and even stronger than the early regional government procedures had been rich in the end creates that climate of opinion about which we talked before in respect to the general population. One final question for me. Cross of the Mystic River. The person who writes the problem lies here in the real economy. It's wonderful to see this optimism. And I wish I could really believe that it's completely true. I don't really know the answer to this but just as a psychologist and from various observations it occurs to me that people have a
terrible habit of getting used to practically everything under the sun. I'm afraid that if the civil liberties climate in this country well-versed than it is now. Then we still would find a lot of people sleeping happily at night which could friend them but I'm not quite sure this is just by the study of the climate of opinion is so overwhelmingly important because people have the tendency to accept what interests as the right thing and they get used to restrictions. Their thinking gradually not radically and dramatically changes so that they forget that other conditions could be possible. Some of us won't find it very very uncomfortable to live from the restrictions. And I think it's up to us to do what we can to remove for our necessary restrictions. That was Dr. Maria hota professor of psychology and assistant director of the Human Relations
Center at New York University. Next week at this time security and civil rights will bring you an exclusive interview with the central figure in the most publicized security case of our time. Mr. Owen Lattimore. Shorter here Mr. Latta more on security and civil rights next week. This series is produced by the University of Minnesota radio station KUNM under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center for the National Association of educational broadcasters. Security and civil rights. He's edited and produced by Philip gold the consultant and commentator Columbia University's professor of law. Mad Paulson your announcer. Charles Britton. The preceding tape recorded program was the presentation of the end E.B. Radio Network.
- Security and civil rights
- Dr. Marie Jahoda
- Producing Organization
- University of Minnesota
- KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Dr. Marie Jahoda, New York University, reports on a study she directed on the personal and psychological aspects of security loyalty programs.
- Series Description
- Interviews on balancing national security interests with personal liberty. The series is moderated by Monrad Paulsen of Columbia University.
- Broadcast Date
- Legislation--United States.
- Media type
Guest: Jahoda, Marie
Moderator: Paulsen, Monrad G.
Producer: Gelb, Philip
Producing Organization: University of Minnesota
Producing Organization: KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-50-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- MLA: “Security and civil rights; Dr. Marie Jahoda.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9g5gg277>.
- APA: Security and civil rights; Dr. Marie Jahoda. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9g5gg277