Do you remember watching episodes of the tv show “Seinfeld” and thinking that there was something seriously wrong with some of the characters? Well, Brendan Spaar is not the only one and now “Seinfeld” has moved from being entertainment to being educational.
The show had a cult following for the zany comedy it offered but a psychiatry professor is using it for much more than that. Medical students at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are learning about psychiatric disorders through Dr. Anthony Tobia’s “Psy-feld” teaching tool. He has created a database of teaching points from all the show’s episodes. Dr. Tobia has also written an academic paper that analyzes five of Elaine’s boyfriends from the show to explain delusional disorder.
Each character is analyzed and their “quirks” used as examples of certain personality disorders. Fans of the show are all too familiar with Jerry’s obsessive compulsive traits, Kramer’s schizoid traits, Elaine’s inability to forge meaningful relationships and George being egocentric. The most disturbing character of all is Newman. Dr Tobia has diagnosed Newman as “Very sick.”
Third- and fourth-year medical students are assigned to watch two episodes a week and then get together to discuss the psychopathology found in each show. Third-year student Marlene Wang said that the exercise leads to having more practical and relatable examples than a textbook.
So be careful what shows you watch. It might tell more about you than you realize.