Monday, November 06, 2006

a portrait of the artist as a perfect storm

I'm sitting here in my office going through back issues of Behavior Genetics taking stock of various behaviors/traits/attainments that have been reported as substantially heritable in studies using one or more family design (mostly comparison of identical and fraternal twins). Anyway, I was just looking at a study titled "The Structure of Perfectionism: A Twin Study." Turns out, while you and I might just refer to someone as being a "perfectionist" or not, psychologists have broken this down into a construct with distinct subscales. Namely:

1. Personal Standards: "Setting of very high standards and the excessive importance placed on those high standards for self-evaluation." (Sample item: "Other people seem to accept lower standards for themselves than I do.")

2. Doubts about Actions: "Doubt their ability to accomplish tasks." (Sample item: "Even when I do something very carefully, I often feel it is not quite right.")

3. Concerns for Mistakes: "Tendency to interpret mistakes as equivalent to failure, tendency to believe one will lose the respect of others following failure." (Sample item: "If I do not do as well as other people, it means I am an inferior human being.")

Yikes! Sounds horrible! I'm glad I don't know anyone who suffers from shades of such an odious affliction! Universities must somehow conduct a secret purge of these people, as the grove of academe, so far as I can tell, is completely free of such haunted souls! (Note: I have not yet noted a study showing evidence for the heritability of sarcasm. Likewise, I suppose I should also add, for procrastination.)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The grove of academe DOES store them within its confines of insomnia.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean (I guess). Sounds like everyone I know. Neurosis just seems to come with the territory of being a Ph.D. student and then professor.

rps said...

I wonder how many of your friends/colleagues think that this post is relevant to something they recently said about themselves in a conversation with you. I, for one (1!), am thinking of my comment last night, something like, "well, this [posit subject of long kvetch to you HERE] is the price I pay for being a perfectionist..."

cpurrin1 said...

Sarcasm article of interst.