Category: psychology

Sexism and Lobotomies

Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, women were disproportionately given lobotomies during the psychiatric procedure’s heyday. From the 1940s through the mid-1950s, men slightly outnumbered women as patients in American state hospitals, yet female patients made up about 60 percent of those who underwent lobotomy. Many psychiatrists believed it was easier to return women after operation to a life of domestic duties at home than it was to post-operatively rehabilitate men for a career as a wage earner.

Sexism and Lobotomies

Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, women were disproportionately given lobotomies during the psychiatric procedure’s heyday. From the 1940s through the mid-1950s, men slightly outnumbered women as patients in American state hospitals, yet female patients made up about 60 percent of those who underwent lobotomy. Many psychiatrists believed it was easier to return women after operation to a life of domestic duties at home than it was to post-operatively rehabilitate men for a career as a wage earner.

Having heard that he had in his library a cert…

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

“Homosexuality Is … Nothing To Be Ashamed Of…

Freud was wrong about almost everything. But he had a couple redeeming qualities, among them that he did not consider homosexuality an illness or something to be eradicated. Which was extremely ahead of his time. In 1935, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was contacted by a worried mother. She was seeking treatment for her son, who was apparently gay. Freud believed that all humans are attracted to both sexes in some capacity. So he responded with the following letter of advice:

Dear Mrs [Erased],

I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you why you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them. (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime – and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

By asking me if I can help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which are present in every homosexual in the majority of cases it is no more possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of treatment cannot be predicted.

What analysis can do for your son runs on a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains a homosexual or gets changed. If you make up your mind he should have analysis with me — I don’t expect you will — he has to come over to Vienna. I have no intention of leaving here. However, don’t neglect to give me your answer.

Sincerely yours with best wishes,

Freud

The gifts of nature are infinite in their vari…

The gifts of nature are infinite in their variety, and mind differs from mind almost as much as body differs from body.

Regular

The author of The Pilgrim’s Progress had a strange phobia.

What was it?

A Philosophical Comment on Snakes

According to the poet, traveler, and politician Usama ibn Munqidh, who lived in the 1100s CE, “One of the wonders of the human heart is that a man may face certain death and embark on every danger without his heart quailing from it, and yet he may take fright from something that even boys and women do not fear.”

ibn Munqidh then told the story of a battle hero his father knew, who “would run out fleeing” if he saw a snake, “saying to his wife, ‘The snake’s all your’s!’ And she would have to get up to kill it.”

Psychoanalyze Yourself

The Decatur Dictator, Oberlin, Kansas, April 13, 1931

Was A Hashtag The First Human Symbol?

This small stone is about 100,000 years old. Found in a cave in South Africa, it has been touted as the earliest evidence that humanity could make symbols. And symbols are evidence of a sophisticated mind, rather like when a two-year-old first realizes the picture book Spot is a representation of the family dog. But a new study by a cognitive scientist finds that these markings and others like them lack key characteristics of symbols.

Dr. Kristian Tylén’s team examined the stones found in the cave as well as broken ostrich shells all dating to between about 52,000 to 109,000 years ago. That is after the emergence of Homo Sapiens, but before widespread artistic expression, such as cave art. If the markings were truly symbolic – if a horizontal line represented the horizon, or a wavy line represented the ocean – then the symbols would have to be different enough from each other. Sort of like how :/ and 🙂 and 🙁 mean different things, and are easily distinguishable. And at each locality, the symbols would evolve and become distinct over time from symbols in other localities. Sort of like how Americans’ 🙂 became Russians’ ) and Koreans’ ^^.

Dr. Tylén’s team did an experiment. Could modern humans could sort the markings into groups, putting the same “symbols” together? And they found that no, the “symbols” were not distinct enough. That’s the  equivalent of  🙂 and :/ and 🙁 ending up in the same group. It is a minimal test of being a symbol — being distinct from another marking — and the engravings failed.

The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio, September 15, 1925

The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio, September 15, 1925