Thursday 13 February 2014

Types of Psychologist


I refer here to empirical psychologists who lecture and publish, which is how we learn about their work and opinions. Historically, there have been 6 types of psychologists:

1 Inventors. They find a new process.

2 Masters. They combine a number of such processes, and use them as well as or better than the inventors.

3 The Diluters. They came after the first two kinds, and couldn’t do the job quite as well.

4 Researchers without salient qualities, who operate at a time when the research process generally is in good working order, and so add to the body of knowledge, without outstanding achievements.

5 Fancy researchers. They don’t really invent anything, but specialise in research which is on the light side, but is done with a flourish, in a fine, well-written, somewhat fancy but limited way.

6 Starters of crazes. They re-label other research in a temporarily appealing way.

I would like to hear what you think of this characterization. I would be fascinated if you could provide some names of psychologists to place in each of the categories. Candidly, where would you place yourself? Finally, I would commend those of my readers who can tell me from which author and book I cribbed the list, which I have altered and re-labelled somewhat.


  1. excellent - perhaps an additional category for academic/therapist types "researching" their own canned therapy programs: "Performance Artists" (aka sweet-talkers masquerading as forward thinkers - or hell, just call 'em "charlatans":)
    Jensen was an inventor who became a master.
    ellis batten page was a master.
    i hesitate to name any living psychs :)

  2. I look forward to the next instalment on types of psychology students.

  3. Ezra Pound ... but I don't remember where/which book. And he was talking about writers.

    1. Correct. Ezra Pound, The ABC of Reading, Faber and Faber, 1961.
      A great book. Congratulation for speed, accuracy and persistence.

      Pg 39 When you start searching for "pure elements" in literature you will find that literature has been created by the following classes of persons:

  4. There are too many starters of crazes in psychology! Crazes like 'emotional intelligence,' the 'dark triad,' and 'self-compassion' -- which often just seem like reinterpretations of g and the Big Five.

    What do you think?

    1. Agree, yet have sneaking admiration for their ability to sell books.

    2. The Dark Triad is at least explicitly based on the Big Five model, examining sub-facets of various traits which tend to cluster together. Emotional intelligence and executive functioning are more egregious examples of sensationalist relabelling.

      On which note, browsing the IoE library last night, I came across 4 copies of a monstrous work called "Spiritual Intelligence: the ultimate intelligence" by one Danah Zohar.

      What's particularly awful is that this dreck was placed cheek by jowl with Jensen's "Bias in Mental Testing". I suppose it does not matter very much, yet it pains me that people who can do things like this are routinely employed by universities.