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Learn Psychiatry by Watching Seinfeld

Studying the DSM-5 to study psychiatry is so out of date. The new hot thing is to learn about psychiatric disorders by watching Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer from Seinfeld. Yes, that Seinfeld.

In a teaching method dubbed "Psy-feld," psychiatry professor Anthony Tobia of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School teaches third and fourth-year medical students about the various psychiatric disorders using characters from the 90s TV sitcom Seinfeld.

"You have a very diverse group of personality traits that are maladaptive on the individual level," explained Tobia to NJ.com, "When you get these friends together the dynamic is such that it literally creates a plot: Jerry’s obsessive compulsive traits combined with Kramer’s schizoid traits, with Elaine’s inability to forge meaningful relationships and with George being egocentric."

Tobia has even created a database of all 180 episodes of Seinfeld to catalogue nearly all characters in the series and their psychiatric ailments (for example, he diagnosed how five of Elaine's boyfriends throughout the years show symptoms of various delusional disorders).

Learning psychiatry by watching Seinfeld may not be such a crazy idea: in a recent paper, Tobia described how students who participated in Psy-feld found that the exercise to be "enjoyable and [preferable] to the more traditional forms of teaching such as large group lectures."

Now isn't that something for a show about nothing?


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