Dr. Charles Morgan, associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, is under scrutiny for his recent research on local Latino immigrants.
The New Haven Register reports, “Morgan, whose work brings psychiatric techniques to bear in discerning whether a person is telling the truth, has been paying immigrant volunteers to take part in a study through a group called the Center for Research and Development, located at 234 Church St. (New Haven). Participants are directed either to lie or tell the truth about personal beliefs during an interview, which is videotaped. Yale is not affiliated with the Center for Research and Development and does not oversee the research conducted there.”
The research is being sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Special Agent Kathleen Wright of the FBI Press Office in Washington, D.C., would not confirm the FBI’s support, but said the bureau is sponsoring research in New Haven,” the Register reported. Wright said, “It’s a project that is exploring cultural differences in human behavior. What it boils down to is communication.”
John Lugo, of the New Haven advocacy group Unidad Latina en Accion, said his organization is meeting to decide on a response to Morgan’s work with local immigrants. “They use us like lab rats,” Lugo told the Register in a follow-up article. “That’s not the game we want to play with these people. For me, it’s pretty scary. I have seen the links between the U.S. Army and the Colombian army.”
Morgan is not discussing the research being conducted until after he writes a scientific paper on the results.
There remains a bit of controversy surrounding the research. Roy Eidelson, past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, reported on the ethics of Morgan’s research, “By all indications of what Dr. Morgan is doing, these are war on terror efforts,” Eidelson said. “The problem is, what is going to be done with this research? Since 2001, the health professions have struggled to figure out what their stance should be, in terms of the ethics of the profession and the needs of the intelligence community.”