Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Freud is Making a Comeback

The NY Times reports:
Sigmund Freud is enjoying something of a comeback. A new generation of analysts and patients are embracing the father of psychoanalysis — in memes, magazines and many long hours on the couch.
I see stories like this every few years.

Freudian psychoanalysis is just weird stuff that Jews believe in.

More mainstream psychology was on display in the Johnny Depp Amber Heard trial. Heard claimed that she had been psychologically damaged, and Depp was allowed to rebut that in court, so he could get a psychologist to evaluate her. See this Shannon Curry interview for more details. Curry gave Heard the standard 567 true/false question Minnesota personality inventory test, and testified with an interpretation that was very damaging to Heard.

Depp was not similarly evaluated, because he made no claims about himself being damaged.

I wonder how much the jury was persuaded by this expert testimony. The idea is that Heard's personality can be diagnosed from correlations with the thousands or maybe millions who have taken this test. It is largely voodoo.

It was a bit like having a Black man on trial for a crime, and bringing in an expert to explain how race is correlated with criminal behavior. Yes, correlations are there, but they do not prove anything about a particular individual.

That being said, Curry's analysis of Heard's psychological disorders was plausible. Heard can pass as a normal person most of the time, but some of her behavior is so far outside acceptable behavior that it is hard for me to assess what she could have been thinking. I might have found Curry's theorizing helpful.

I have taken this test, and several similar ones. The results were fairly boring. You might have gotten similar results from just interviewing me for half an hour.

If the tests really worked as well as Curry described, then there might be social value in making everyone take them and letting courts, employers, credit agencies, and others use the results. That would also be very invasive, and lead to a lot of complaints about accuracy and prejudice.

1 comment:

CFT said...

I will say psychoanalysis is an excellent tool for seeing into Freud's mind. And pretty much no one else's. Dream analysis is entirely subjective, not objective, ... and apparently Freud was obsessed with Sex, a lot, frequently.

Freud really jumped the shark with the psychoanalysis schtick when he himself was confronted by the fact he was always stuffing lots of phallic symbols (cigars) into his own mouth.
"Sometimes a cigar is Just a cigar."