If I observe you as having narcissistic traits, and you observe yourself as having narcissistic traits, and you form an identity around being a narcissist, nothing meaningful has been done. You still have no useful tools with which to make your life better.
The psychological world needs a lot less of this, because handing people convenient identities without a corresponding plan of action for improving yourself that actually works, is contributing to rather than alleviating the problem.
I don't think half of the people who think they're on the autism spectrum are anywhere close to it. I don't think half of the people described as narcissistic or psychopathic deserve the term. I do think that most people have emotional difficulties, and quantifying and providing resources for improving emotional health and depth should be the primary focus of psychology at the moment.
I like the focus on loneliness, I hate the focus on disorders.
Why? Psychology is not medicine. Psychology is the study of the mind. (Maybe you're thinking of psychiatry?)
We—psychologists—study the mind because we want to know how it works. It's basic research, like physicists studying particle collisions, or astronomers studying the cosmic microwave background. We're doing it in order to understand. We're approaching the same problems neurologists work on (how does the brain do this? why does the brain do that?), but from a different abstraction layer, using more of a social-sciences toolset.
This research, in particular, is interesting because it unifies several previous, more limited hypotheses about how and why the human brain ends up in a particular persistent state. It provides a rubric that allows researchers (not doctors; not laymen) to craft tools that find this state, and to make predictions based off of the presence of this state.
Researchers in possession of those tools can then use them to do other things. Like, say, medicine. But the basic research comes first.
More simply, I personally believe I need a reason to do something mean, but I don’t need a reason to do something nice. Is binning people mean or nice? It’s definitely mean. I suggest corrections but also the possibility of redemption for offenders.
Separately: is life better or worse for epileptics since the creation of the concept of epilepsy-as-neurological-disorder?
Consider what reifing this concept has allowed medical science to do, that it was not so empowered to do under previous explanations for the same behavioural phenomena.
When you cleave concept-space the right way, you create a node in your schema that corresponds to something you can actually affect, through e.g. therapeutic or pharmacological interventions.
A “bin” that stays such—just something to label people with, is a wrong cut. It is a concept that does not expose something “raw” and concrete enough to actually touch.
The subject of the essay is correlation of stately statistical categories. The entire discussion remains purely in the abstract, and by this I mean the categories in question are abstract and the correlated heirarchies are abstract on every level. To take any issue with this in utility or morality would be to take issue with theoretical analysis itself. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming you are not intending to do that.
You’re approaching the same problems that neuroscientists are tackling, but using a “social sciences” toolset? What does that even mean? That sounds like an outright rejection of the scientific method.
I think psychology could bring valuable insight into the future of AI as well. It's a shame that most psychologists involved in tech are in HR/communications or at best tasked with keeping people addicted to whatever social platform they are building.
There’s a spectre that haunts Western pyshology which allows for the set of thus considered “scientific” checkboxes to be marked, which are sufficient for the physical sciences. But, physically speaking, the physical sciences are child’s play compared with the material subject of psychology, which is fairly undebatable. On the other hand, the same could be said for the physical sciences at certain points in time, and still to say in particular focuses. So what’s my point??
Psychology as it has so far been instituted in the western world cannot observe, define, or much less control the entropy it contends with. Critical theory, political theory, economics, poetics, cultural studies; truly the entire fields of humanities have a more comprehensive understanding of this entropy than the field of psychology does. Why? Because it cannot. It’s too much. Psychology can “scientific method” it’s heart out all it wants, but it remains to be seen that this method is even the best we’ve got. Mind you again that psychology cannot control for social entropy, and what but it can (debatable) falls off a cliff outside of the lab.
When we speak of social entropy, we cannot ignore politics; the scorpion’s tail of the entire effort which understandably ignores an effort to define either entropy or control but instead blindly accepts the human environment of contemporary ‘normal’ as the aim for dictating constants. This is of course ridiculous, and doing otherwise would be no less so. As such, it’s hard to blame the folks trying, but should be far easier to see how moot their effort is. The humanities has achieved a far more enlightened critique of the field of psychology than the field itself has even begun to. Sociology embraces the entropy whole-hearted and as such admits doubt and is politically marginalized (or privatized) accordingly. The approach of psychology in these respects is again understandable, but if the physical sciences were accused of something at all similar, we would all be up in arms.
On a separate note, the measurable issues with the institutional politics undermining western psychology are however similar to those at play in psysical sciences, but the vaguaries and innate necessity of ignorance in pursuing the task serve as multipliers to corruption. Where to even begin? It’s just too much.
To conclude, the effort in calling is certainly worthy and noble. But, the effort in practice is terribly fraught; deserves loads more criticism and caution than it receives. If the scientific method could be performed in scope (as one might say it is in the humanities) western psychogy remains in hypothetical stages. There’s cause for a few toasts, but not a celebration.
Well, it seems like a simpler concept than "science", anyway.
Computer science is not "directly traceable back to physics."
"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." - Dijkstra
"Computer science is not about machines, in the same way that astronomy is not about telescopes. There is an essential unity of mathematics and computer science." - Fellows
Sure in pure mathematics you can derive solutions using pure logic however if a model looks sound but an example shows up that disagrees with the model then there is obviously a flaw somewhere.
Similarly in physical sciences, experiments are data-points that constrain a model of the system. As physical sciences unfortunately don't have the luxury of using pure logic to derive models, they are stuck with using just these "tests".
As you said computer science is more or less a subset of mathematics. Because of this I would say that they are both true sciences, they just have a few extra tools at their disposal compared to the rest of the sciences.
You could try to say the same thing about psych being implemented by neurons, but it's not directly traceable. You can try building up from neural networks, and backtrack from Freud's drive/defense model, but there is an insurmountable gap in between.
Assuming I'm not off-base there, I think the distinction is that unlike neuroscience, psychology often seeks to explain things by correlating data/observations rather than describing the underlying physiology.
The theoretical parts of computer science that do not get broken out academically into separate engineering disciplines (wherein physics is quite relevant) are really just branches of mathematics, without any physics involved.
> I think the distinction is that unlike neuroscience, psychology often seeks to explain things by correlating data/observations rather than describing the underlying physiology.
I don't know a huge amount about psychology but that sounds fair. Psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience all inform one another. I don't think it's quite accurate (or perhaps it's just needlessly pejorative) to suggest, as the OP does, that psychology has hit a "dead end" when the phenomenon under study requires the application of psychiatry or neuroscience in order to be more fully understood. On the contrary, it sounds like an indication that the psychologists might have discovered something interesting.
I totally agree. I'm not making any claims about the validity or worth of psychology, I just think the distinction OP was referring to is worth pointing out.
I think ideally we would understand everything from a physiological perspective, but until that time comes there are plenty of cases where we can benefit from acting on imperfect information. An imperfect example: I don't believe the mechanism that SSRI medicines work on is well understood, but for a lot of people they are obviously beneficial.
* The "mathematics" of computation (the British often call computer science informatics, and I think they might be closer). Information theory, computability theory, automata, etc. This would be the theory side of "computer science". But it is more it's own independent sort of mathematics.
* A science about what can be computed effectively, what works best, and other questions using empirical testing. This would be the "applied informatics", or the actual term "computer science". A computer has as much to do with computer science as telescopes do with astronomy, they are a supremely useful tool, and most scientists are probably pretty good at using them.
* Programming, this is the vocational skill, that anyone can learn, that is informed from what we know of the science.
* Software Engineering, this is the primary engineering discipline of the science. In the context of physics this would be like a civil engineer or something, or like a specialized electrical engineer (like compared to physics degree specialized in electromagnetism).
* IT/MIS, this is what most people think when you say computer scientist. But this is more like a specialized technician who maintains computers. And are like 3 degrees removed from the core of the informatics (informatics->science->engineering/programming->maintenance).
So in relation to the larger issue of the thread: In so far as mathematics came from physics (e.g. a tool to study nature, considering most strides in mathematics have come from people who could also loosely be described as physicists (like Newton and Plato, etc.) it's not a major stretch), computer science sort of came from mathematics, transitively it came from physics.
I really respect the effort here, but formal, productive mathematics predates anything we'd call physics (or the scientific method) to such a huge extent that I think this is a weak conclusion. But, on the other hand, it wouldn't have ever occurred to me to call Plato a physicist.
Nonsense, you can now use mental health best practices to treat yourself or seek help from someone who can treat you. I say this because I’ve seen this precise scenario: someone told a family member they were narcissistic and to get help, and they did, and they’re largely a more pleasant person to be around now. It took years to effect this change, but I sincerely believe labels can help; even in self diagnosis.
That said, this type of self awareness is a modern phenomenon—David Foster Wallace captured the negative aspects of this quite well in some of his stuff (infinite jest and Men Who Stare At Goats come to mind). The answer for me was meditation and finding a better balance between stress and relaxation; I think true mindfulness (....not an app) could really help here.
And, of course, you need to want to change. This may be the hardest part of watching someone deal with monkeys on their back.
Again though, that's you, your understanding. This is always the problem with psychology. Projecting all the information you've ever encountered through your understanding of yourself and through your understanding of others, onto others.
Disorders suck, yes. It's not always just loneliness in a physical presence sense. Sometimes it's intellectual/emotional loneliness.
> I don't think half of the people who think they're on the autism spectrum are anywhere close to it.
We are what we make of ourselves. You might not know the reason someone would prefer identifying with autism. But again, that comes down to how you observe information on the outside, versus an how an individual has understood their own self internally, in a stable sense, their entire life.
Intellectual loneliness, only seeing a singular connection between sets of information people externalize. One singular one that matches with everything. And then, trying to have one's own sense of self, instead of having to perpetually match with every person intellectually, to keep their own perspective maintained, validated.
So based on their nine questions, I score rather high on their "D-factor". And while I don't spend much time obsessing over "utility maximization", I have clearly made many utility-based decisions. For example, I never wanted children, notwithstanding social expectations, and preferred to do what interested me.
It's true that some of my interests have been entirely selfish. Having fun, in various ways, for example. But I've also spent years being quite idealistic. Academic pursuits. Working on social and ecological issues. And now, being a privacy advocate.
I do get that my idealistic efforts could just be driven by the desire to look good. To be admired and recognized. But I'm aware of that, and use it for motivation, while recognizing that it's all ultimately empty and meaningless.
So anyway, I believe that human psychology and ontogeny are far too complex to be usefully characterized by stuff like a "D-factor". At best, that just gets at what we're conscious of. And what we're conscious of is largely meaningless post hoc bullshit.
It's part of the push to treat crime as a mental illness and set the stage for medicating criminals, I suspect, and it comes with all the flaws that the traditional mental illness model has.
For example, if a relative of mine 'Timmy' suffered from schizophrenia but schizophrenia as a diagnosable condition didn't exist yet then it would be much more difficult for anyone to know how to deal with Timmy. Some might shun him while others might fully buy into his paranoia.
The dark core traits have real victims so providing society with a means to identify and describe those behaviors will provide some limit to their range and impact.
First, echoing dboreham's comment below, the problem with a self-reported Dark Score is that no real psychopath is going to rate themselves accurately. You just don't get very far on the spectrum if you have the ability to truly introspect and self-reflect. In my experience dealing with psychopathic individuals (I'm talking behavior leading to lawsuits, major crimes, and death), I can trace this lack of self-awareness to severe childhood trauma/abuse causing a sort of split or divided self. The true psychopath is a stranger to themselves.
Second, I think that creating a simple online self-report quiz trivializes some very real and very dangerous aspects of personality. I think it does a disservice to the field of serious forensic psychology. It is possible to study the type of minds of that cause tremendous suffering for others in a rigorous scientific way. But fun online quizzes aren't the way.
I know what you're tying to say but I'd just like to put it out there that conclusions from scientific studies do not have to be surprising. Scientific exploration is to find out the truth - sometimes it is "common sense" and sometimes it is surprising.
I think this is the metaphor with lady justice. She is blind but very exact. She does not interpret, she executes. She has no empathy nor malevolence. Because we know that those are the seeds of our delusion.
Also weird for a research paper like this one to have its own site that looks like a startup landing page.
"""Scientific American, the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S., has been bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology f
or more than 170 years.""" - from the about page https://www.scientificamerican.com/page/about-scientific-ame...
Apart from their scientific-ness, finding one of these traditions can be helpful in sorting out self. E.g. in Jung's psychology, we all have a shadow ('dark core'). But beyond that is a greater Self. E.g. in Buddhism, we learn that desire is a primary cause of suffering ... But we can grow, through self-mastery, beyond our suffering. And share. There are more examples.
Yes, these old systems pre-date science, but several are firmly grounded in centuries (or more) of shared human experience. Finding one of these traditions that 'talks to you' (while avoiding schemes) can be very helpful - in a pragmatic sense. All are part of what Huxley called the 'Perennial Philosophy'.
I just don't see why the notion of a D-Factor would surprise anyone, or why this study is regarded as "big news."
For example the NFL and US military both successfully use tests of g to select more capable recruits.
Unfortunately I don’t believe any test of d will be useful, except maybe in very low g high d individuals. This is because there is usually no incentive to score low on a g test, but there is on a d test.
Also, 'obvious' is not necessarily as dismissal.