Psychiatric Testimony and The Rashomon Phenomenon

Before you delve into this article, please note that:

The Rashomon Phenomenon or Effect “is the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it.” (wiki 6/3/12)

Somewhat like the differences in eyewitness accounts or simply differences of opinion. However, when “expert” physicians, psychiatrists, psychotherapists testify, their opinions and diagnosis will have a profound effect on the outcome of a trial and the subsequent lives of those involved.

This is a long article and very interesting.


Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online

April 2012, 40 (2)


Increasing scrutiny is now being directed to the use of scientific evidence and the utilizationand participation of expert witnesses in American courts. The adversary mode of presentation of evidence has frequently been distinguished by a wide variety of distortions and manipulative efforts. Those in the forensic sciences have become more and more critical of this system, which has been characterized by a generally low quality of professional participation and frequent injustice.

…This neglect has been most marked at the training level. In this panoply of evidentiary chaos, psychiatric testimony, because of the nature of the material and the need for interpretation of soft data, is perhaps most
prominent. Consequently, psychiatrists have been strongly criticized in the courts, particularly for the content of testimony and the occasional markedly contrasting opinions expressed. …

There is frequently a high concordance of opinion, …

Retrieved 06/03/12. Read More


Leave a comment


  1. Altus

     /  06/12/2012

    Whoops, meant APA, not AMA on my posting. Does my bias show through that I want therapy more medically-based…and scientifically-based too!



What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s