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Politics

Amateur shrinks and professional psychiatrists analyze Trump, Clinton




In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Donald Trump.
In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Donald Trump.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Amateur shrinks AKA average voters have every right to analyze the minds of presidential candidates - and during this cycle, it can be too tempting to resist.

However, professional psychiatrists who cannot restrain themselves from diagnosing Donald Trump's id and ego are violating the "Goldwater Rule" established by the American Psychiatry Association. As Benedict Carey recounts in "The New York Times," the Republican presidential candidate of 1964, Barry Goldwater, similarly inspired diagnoses from shrinks across the land.

At the time, more than 1,000 psychiatrists surveyed said Goldwater was psychologically unfit for the presidency. The news stoked controversy and later was deemed unethical by the aforementioned association.

How skilled do you think you are in diagnosing public figures? Looking back on Presidents Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, for instance, how did their behavior get analyzed at the time?

Guest:

Benedict Carey, Science Reporter for The New York Times; Author, “How We Learn” (Random House; 2014)



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