The authors propose as a hypothesis that the experience of workplace mobbing can cause an elevation in paranoid cognition. "[O]ne cannot rule out that the paranoid trait is a consequence of the mobbing. This explanation was strongly advocated by Leymann (e.g., 1996). In support of this interpretation, Kramer (1994) has found that interpersonal relationships in which individuals' expectations of trust are chronically violated predispose them to develop a sinister attributional bias or paranoid cognition. In the case of mobbing, it may also be hypothesized that this cognitive state is to a certain extent functional since it induces the victim to carefully evaluate others' behavior and to avoid committing errors and revealing information to colleagues that may prove useful to the mobber. Thus, from this point of view, mobbing may be a typical situation in which a paranoid cognition develops since the costs of failing to detect negative intentions in others' behavior (false negatives) are higher than the costs of attributing such intentions where there are none (false positives; Haselton & Nettle, 2006). If this is true, one would expect to see a drastic fall in the paranoid cognition, as well as in the neurotic component, with an attenuation of the work conflict. However, longitudinal studies are needed to empirically evaluate this expectation."
Akin Gump's conclusion that my report of job harassment reflected only my paranoid thinking was based on an error of logic: a false dilemma. Simply because an employee is paranoid does not mean that he is not a victim of job harassment. Subtle job harassment can cause paranoid thinking in the targeted victim. One would hope that a state human rights agency and the courts would be sensitive to this problem.
Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to Cristian Balducci, MSc, PhD Candidate, Department of Cognitive Science and Education-University of Trento, Via Matteo del Ben, 5, I-38068 Rovereto (TN), Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org