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by Jeremy Gorman
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
One day when I was wondering just what was wrong with me,
I thought to ask some experts in what’s called psychology.
Beginning with the founders of the psychologic arts,
I went to Wundt and Titchener, who broke me into parts.
John Dewey proved more functional, and Peirce was quite pragmatic,
but Ebbinghaus’s learning curve was steep as stairs-to-attic.
I asked Will James, “How much to tell me what is best for me?”
He told me, “You must give yourself.” Wow. Quite the session fee.
John Watson soon got wind of this, and, not to be outdone,
said “Give to me a dozen kids.” I had not even one!
And so I went to Festinger, who told me my cognition
was dissonant, though Erikson did not take that position.
A crisis of identity was what he said I had.
And so I asked, “What therapy will make my mind less mad?”
Carl Rogers spoke. “Why, client-centered! Best thing ever tried!”
I then asked Perls. “Gestalt,” he said. “Gesundheit,” I replied.
Said Ernest Jones, “No, talk it out! That’s how to be relieved!”
Said Allport, “No, you just need love! Both given and received.”
It seemed that there was no consensus on just what was good,
and so I tracked down every damn psychologist I could.
Al Adler said I compensate by doing silly deeds.
Piaget and I then played with toys while Maslow ranked my needs.
Carl Jung said it’s my archetype that likes to play the fool.
Bandura made me play the bully. Pavlov made me drool.
Binet said my I.Q. explains how others have outfoxed me,
while Loftus showed me crashing cars, and B.F. Skinner boxed me.
I didn’t take too well to that, and pouted, kind of sooked, like.
Then Eysenck spilled his PEN, and Rorschach asked me what it looked like.
Joe Wolpe cured my phobia, and now I fear no snake.
Moniz said, “May I pick your brain?” “Okay,” I said. Mistake!
Though I was not lobotomized, I barely got away
to track down all the others, and to see what they would say.
McClelland said my high n-Ach is why I’m such a wonk.
Cattell then told me who I’d like, and Kinsey, who I’d bonk.
Ed Thorndike said we’re much like beasts that graze upon savannahs,
while Kohler made me pile some crates and gave me some bananas.
I learned of joy from Rollo May, and love from Erich Fromm.
I learned that Harlow’s terry cloth was really not my mom.
Zimbardo gave me charge of all the students in his cells.
With Milgram, though, I had to give the charge to someone else.
And so I find the question of what’s wrong is no less muddy.
The DSM, well, seems to be describing everybody.
So since I don’t know what to do from what I’ve learned so far,
I guess it’s back to Freud. Hey, I could use a good cigar.
Wundt: Outlines of Psychology, W.M. Wundt (C.H. Judd, trans.), Wilhelm Engelmann, 1897 Wundt/Outlines.
Titchener: “The Postulates of a Structural Psychology,” E.B. Titchener, Philosophical Review, vol. 7, 1898, pp. 449–65.
Dewey: “The New Psychology,” J. Dewey, Andover Review, vol. 2, 1884, pp. 278–89.
Peirce: “How to Make Our Ideas Clear,” C.S. Peirce, Popular Science Monthly, vol. 12, January 1878,
Ebbinghaus: Memory: A Contribution To Experimental Psychology, H. Ebbinghaus (H.A. Ruger and C.E. Bussenius, trans.), Teachers College Columbia University, 1913.
James: The Principles of Psychology, W. James, Harvard University Press, 1890.
Watson: Behaviourism, J.B. Watson, University of Chicago Press, 1930.
Festinger: A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, L. Festinger, Stanford University Press, 1957.
Erikson: Identity: Youth and Crisis, E.H. Erikson, W.W. Norton, 1968.
Rogers: On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy, C.R. Rogers, Houghton, 1961.
Perls: Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality, F. Perls, R.F. Hefferline and P. Goodman, Delta Book, 1951.
Jones: Papers on Psycho-Analysis, E. Jones, Balliere Tindall & Cox, 1912.
Allport: The Nature Of Prejudice, G.W. Allport, Addison-Wesley, 1954.
Adler: The Neurotic Constitution: Outlines Of A Comparative Individualistic Psychology And Psychotherapy, A. Adler (Bernard Glueck, J.E. Lind, Trans.), Moffat Yard & Co., 1916.
Piaget: The Construction of Reality in the Child, J. Piaget (M. Cook, Trans.), Basic Books, 1954.
Maslow: “A Theory of Human Motivation,” A.H. Maslow, Psychological Review, vol. 50, 1943, pp. 370–96.
Jung: Psychological Types, C. Jung (H.G. Bayes, Trans.), 1923.
Bandura: “Transmission of Aggressions Through Imitation of Aggressive Models”, A. Bandura, D. Ross and S.A. Ross, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 63, no. 3, 1961, pp. 575–82.
Pavlov: Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of the Physiological Activity of the Cerebral Cortex, I.P. Pavlov (G.V. Anrep, trans.), Oxford University Press, 1927.
Binet: “New Methods for the Diagnosis of the Intellectual Level of Subnormals”, A. Binet (E.S. Kite, Trans.), The Development of Intelligence in Children, Publications of the Training School at Vineland, 1916 (originally published in L’Année Psychologique, vol. 12, 1905, pp. 191–244).
Loftus: “Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction: An Example of the Interaction between Language and Memory,” E.F. Loftus and J.C. Palmer, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, vol. 13, no. 5, 1974, pp. 585–9.
Skinner: Schedules of Reinforcement, C.B. Ferster and B.F. Skinner, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1957.
Eysenck: Psychoticism as a Dimension of Personality, H.J. Eysenck and S.B.G. Eysenck, Hodder & Stoughton, 1976.
Rorschach: The Rorschach Technique: A Manual for a Projective Method of Personality Diagnosis, B. Klopfer, World Book Co., 1946.
Wolpe: The Practice of Behavior Therapy, J. Wolpe, Pergamon Press, 1969.
Moniz: “Biography of Egas Moniz,” Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1942–1962, The Nobel Foundation, Elsevier Publishing Co., 1964.
McClelland: The Achieving Society, D.C. McClelland, Van Nostrand, 1961.
Cattell: The 16Pf: Personality in Depth, H.B. Cattell, Institute for Personality & Ability Testing, 1989.
Kinsey: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, A.C. Kinsey, W.B. Pomeroy and C.E. Martin, W.B. Saunders Co., 1948.
Thorndike: “The Mental Life of the Monkeys,” E.L. Thorndike, Psychological Review, Monograph Supplements, no. 15, Macmillan, 1901.
Köhler: The Mentality of Apes, W. Köhler (Ella Winter, trans.), Harcourt Brace & Co., 1927.
May: The Courage to Create, R. May, W.W. Norton & Co., 1975.
Fromm: The Art of Loving, E. Fromm, Harper & Row, 1956.
Harlow: “Affectional Responses in the Infant Monkey,” H.F. Harlow and R.R. Zimmerman, Science, vol. 130, 1959, pp. 421–32.
Zimbardo: “Study of Prisoners and Guards in a Simulated Prison,” C. Haney, W.C. Banks and P.G. Zimbardo, Naval Research Reviews, vol. 9, 1973, pp. 1–17.
Milgram: “Behavioral Study of Obedience”, S. Milgram, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 67, 1963, pp. 371–8.
DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
Freud: “More Than a Cigar,” E.J. Elkin, Cigar Aficionado, 1994.
The article above is from the September-October 2008 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.