Thursday, March 22, 2018

Psychiatrists Diagnosing Politicians

Once upon a time, and it wasn’t very long ago, the psycho world was abuzz with theories about the mental health of one Donald Trump. Led by a Yale psychiatrist named Bandy X. Lee, psycho professionals banded together to draw serious conclusions from the way that Trump held a glass of water or from his misspeaking. For the record, not one of said professionals cared a whit about the constant misspeakings, brain freezes and the like of one Nancy Pelosi.

Anyway, the story was so compelling that the press ran with it and ran with it and ran with it. Until one day, President Trump had a physical exam, including a test of his cognitive functioning. Trump’s physician, a man who had been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike, held a news conference and answered journalist questions for nearly an hour. This demonstrated that journalists know nothing about medicine, but that they like to posture and preen for the cameras.

The result: the story died, it faded from public consciousness and the brigade of anti-Trumpers moved on to another front in their war against the president.

Today, over at the PsyPost site— highly recommended for its articles on the latest research in matters psycho— Eric Dolan reports on a recent study about the researchers who defied the rules of professional ethics and diagnosed Trump without ever having met him or treated.

You will not be surprised to hear that the so-called clinicians who diagnosed Trump were guided, not by the beset science, but by their own political bias. So much for the glories of science and rationality.

Dolan writes:

New research indicates that psychology experts who have been used in studies to judge Donald Trump’s personality traits are biased against him. The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, found that perceptions of Trump’s personality where strongly linked to one’s own political orientation.

“Research ideas are like a winding staircase; they take you in directions that you never intended to go,” remarked Joshua D. Wright of the University of Western Ontario, the corresponding author of the study.

Naturally, these pseudo-scientists found more positive qualities in their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton. And yet, voters saw things differently:

“In short, expert raters thought Hillary Clinton was highly emotionally stable and highly conscientious and yet it was conscientious and emotionally stable voters that preferred Donald Trump (Samek, 2017),” Wright explained.

“Experts in Nai and Maier rated Donald Trump very low in conscientiousness and very low in emotional stability, which should have been off putting for conscientious and emotionally stable voters. Either the congruency model didn’t apply to this particular election or the experts in Nai and Maier were wrong.”

One will be forbidden a grin at the notion that Hillary Clinton is emotionally stable. The nation’s whiner-in-chief is so unstable that she cannot get over her election loss. She now travelling around the world to share her angst and to say foolish things about why she is the biggest loser.

The important point is that these psycho professionals are culture warriors, wanna-be political activists posturing for the camera. To call them scientists is a joke:

“Experts are just as politically biased as everyone else. They cannot objectively rate the personalities of political candidates. When expert raters are highly skewed to the left, the personality profiles will be highly skewed to present the left-wing candidate in a more favorable light. Expert raters are basically Clinton voters in disguise.”

“Without self-reported personality assessments of these candidates and without close friends and relatives providing peer assessments, we are probably left with a very inaccurate portrait of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s personalities. But if I had to pick which ratings were most likely to reflect their personalities, I would choose the assessment of the politically moderate voters in our sample,” Wright continued.

How much should we respect our psycho professionals? How much confidence should we have in their ability to deal with mental health?


Sam L. said...

“Research ideas are like a winding staircase; they take you in directions that you never intended to go,...” Bad analogy; winding staircases will get you to the next floor.

"How much should we respect our psycho professionals?" Nada.
"How much confidence should we have in their ability to deal with mental health?" Zilch.

Ares Olympus said...
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