I saw a BBC headline, “Huge payout in US stuttering case“, and figured that somebody who stutters must have been harassed at work or something, and got a settlement of $5 mil. WRONG.
What happened is this:
Six US citizens who, as children, were used in an experiment that tried to induce stuttering have been awarded nearly $1m (£500,000) in compensation.
In 1939, the plaintiffs – all orphans in state care – were tormented for six months by Iowa University researchers.
The study was testing the theory that children develop speech impediments because of psychological pressure.
The truth behind this atrocity came out in 2001. Again, the Beeb:
The 1939 experiment was dubbed The Monster Study because of the researchers’ methods.
Over a period of six months, Dr Wendell Johnson, a pioneer in speech pathology, tested his theory on 22 children from the Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home.
Some were subjected to prolonged harassment, while the remainder were used as a control group.
None of the children became stutterers but some became self-conscious and reluctant to speak, according to the study.
In 2001, a Californian newspaper revealed details of the secretive study, basing its story on the testimony of a former research assistant.
Iowa’s Attorney General, not to mention the people that govern its University system, should hang their heads in shame. A million bucks for psychologically abusing orphans for six months is a pittance.