Are You Analyzing Me?
I for one am getting tired of the response I get when people learn that I'm in a cognitive psychology program. "Oh," they begin their clever banter, "are you analyzing me?" This leaves one with a few possible solutions 1. Admit that, yes indeed you are analyzing them, and that they are fascinating, utterly fascinating. 2. Explain that, no, that's not the type of psychology you do, that if they'd like you to analyze them, you'll need to drill a small hole in their skull. 3. Ask them what they mean by that 4. Laugh uncontrollably for a while then make sure everyone in the vicinity appreciates the rapier wit of this person by repeating the exchange, frequently patting this modern day Will Rogers on the back, and breaking out in frequent giggling attacks. 5. Explain that "studying cognitive psychology" is just a euphemism. Smile, stare at them menacingly. Another alternative, however, would be to take the Dr. Laura approach. Laura Schlessinger has a Ph.D. in physiology and cellular biophysics, so you know she heard the "are you analyzing me" thing all the time. Her solution was to go with it, and actually start to dispense "advice." She left her petri dishes and microbes behind and became a full time nudge. I figured that might be a good way to go, so I've solicited letters from the lovelorn, confused, and crazy. I've decided to reinvent myself as a hip advice columnist. So, drawing on my cognitive background, here's the first installment of my column "Crazy People on my Mind" by Dan Horn, MA, Ph.D.(Candidate) Dear Dr.(Candidate) Dan, I'm a male college student, and I find myself uncontrollably attracted to my very attractive, and very married Professor. How do I make my feelings known without creating an uncomfortable situation? Teacher's Pet Dear Teacher's Pet, I think you may have a lesion in your frontal lobes. Consider getting an MRI. Dear Dr.(Candidate) Dan, My boyfriend of 6 months and I have a wonderful caring relationship. We're planning on taking things to the "next level," but he's told me that he wants to meet my parents before we get too serious. The problem is that my boyfriend has a tattoo on his forearm, and my father absolutely hates tattoos. While I don't want to make him uncomfortable, I think my boyfriend should wear long sleeves when they meet. How do I ask him about this without sounding like a jerk? Cover It Up Dear Cover, You could lesion your father's optic chiasm, thus preventing his detection of the tattoo. Dear Dr.(Candidate) Dan, I'm working on a connectionist model of attentional capture, and I was wondering what you thought about Sperling's recent work arguing against Posner's spotlight model. Also, what do you think of Matlab as a programming environment? Neurally Inspired Dear Neurally, I think you may have a lesion in your frontal lobes, get an MRI. I'll be signing my new book "10 Things Frontal Lobes Do to Mess Up Your Life" at Charley's today at 5pm. Feel free to bring any visiting family members!