Déc 2016. J’active ce blog après une pause de trois ans.
Je viens de terminer mon premier MOOC sur la psychologie à l’Université de Toronto. Après les examens, j’ai dû choisir un sujet relatif à un événement mondial et donc j’ai écrit sur «Psychological assessment et Donald Trump». Si vous lisez l’anglais, vous pourriez trouver ce court article (une page) intéressant.
Psychological assessment and Donald Trump Peer-graded assignment by John Hall 12.14.16
The most significant world event of the last two months is the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States of America. He is a larger than life character who achieved this with no political experience whatsoever. It was a remarkable achievement. Worldwide many are trying to understand quite how this happened. An interesting psychological approach would be social psychology in the context of the interneted world that is the USA today.
This brief paper will concentrate on another psychological aspect, Donald Trump’s observable character traits and patterns of behavior and whether they correlate with any psychopathology.
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge. One central practice is psychological assessment. Psychological assessment (1) is similar to psychological testing but usually involves a more comprehensive assessment of the individual. The Psychopathy Checklist (2) or Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, now the Psychopathy Checklist-revised (PCL-R), is a psychological assessment tool used to assess the presence of psychopathy (3) in individuals. It is a 20-item inventory of perceived personality traits (4) and recorded behaviors, intended to be completed on the basis of a semi-structured interview along with a review of other information such as public records.
Note that Hare regarded the DSM-IV diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder as separate to his concept of psychopathy, as it did not list the same underlying personality traits. This should make us cautious of lists of personality traits and categorizations. DSM-V has moved in this direction with the notion of continuum and not just categorization. Most clinicians agree that a balanced battery of tests is more accurate.
Hart also goes the way of Wilhelm Reich in that he does not hesitate to explore interaction of the psychology of successful individuals and society with books such as ‘The Mass Psychology of Fascism’ in Reich’s case and Hare’s ‘Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us’, focusing on the ‘successful psychopath’. (5)
Psychological assessment is a process that involves checking the integration of information from multiple sources. In this few hundred word paper this is not possible in a meaningful way and readers are invited to use original source material when forming their own tentative conclusions. I suggest only original source material such as Trump’s twitters (6) and his interviews and speeches and not second hand opinions.
The Personality disorder lecture (7) reviews the Hare criteria for psychopathy, with eight Primary « selfish, callous and remorseless use of others » behavior and nine secondary « chronically unstable, antisocial and socially deviant lifestyle » behaviors listed. The first three listed primary factors are : Glibness and superficial charm, grandiosity, and pathological lying. First on the secondary list is Impulsivity.
Readers are invited to go to the list in this presentation (8) (seven minutes into the lecture) and see how many of the 20 behaviors they would attribute to the President-elect. My count, based only on original source material from TV and internet videos and twitter, is that he scores 8/8 in ‘Factor One Primary psychopathy’, 4/9 in Factor 2 secondary psychopathy’ and 1 on 3 in the ‘extra items loading on both factors’.
Can conclusions on Mr. Trump’s personality be drawn from this ? The answer is No because:
- Pop psychology, or popular psychology, linking current events to a psychological model of someone’s mindset in the heat of events is irresponsible
- This analysis lacks in depth and rigor
- The test should be considered valid only if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under scientifically controlled and licensed, standardized conditions. Hare (9) emphasizes this himself.
- I do not want to be sued by Donald
This also raises two other important secondary questions :
How to make the psychology paradigm accessible to the general public without over simplifying or being glib ?
How extensively do countries such as Russia and the USA use psychology when evaluating world leaders and trying to influence them?
NOTE: References are a normal and necessary academic requirement. See the nine pertinent hyperlimks (1) to (9)