What is it about psychology articles that gets us intrigued? Mention that you have an interest in psychology and you’re likely to get a response like: “Oh are you going to analyse me?”
Psychology is the tool in which we use to find answers about our own psyches, but is there a point where too much knowledge is a dangerous thing? Learning about ourselves helps us to understand our strengths and weaknesses, but can we get so submerged in theories and diagnoses that we start to overuse this knowledge in our everyday lives?
Being well-read is surely a good thing, but if you go around suspecting everyone you meet is a psychopath, or you start making assumptions on your partner’s behaviour because you’ve diagnosed them as a narcissist, then maybe it’s time to hold off for a while.
But how do you know if you’ve read too many psychology articles?
Check to see if you do any of the following:
1. Suspect that everyone is trying to manipulate you
Knowing how people use manipulation techniques as a way of getting power over you, and thinking that everyone you meet is trying to manipulate you are two totally separate issues. Make sure you don’t over-analyse people’s actions and behaviours, or you could lead to paranoid behaviour yourself.
2. Try to guess everyone’s personality type
When we meet people in an everyday setting, we tend to ask them about their family, their work, what they like doing as a hobby. Someone that is obsessed with psychology articles will ask these questions so that they can build up a personality type profile.
3. Suspect someone is a sociopath/psychopath
Are you looking at a person’s behaviour and going through the Hare Psychopathy Checklist to see if they have psychopathic tendencies? Or do you know exactly what the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath is? If you can name the 20 criteria that make up the Hare Checklist, you’ve probably read too many psychology articles.
4. Diagnose someone with a mental disorder
Do you feel you have the necessary insight to be able to diagnose a person’s mental state? Do you look for signs in their behaviour and believe you have the answers that can help them get better? Only people who are qualified can make diagnoses and have the knowledge and tools to aid someone with the intricate problems of the mind. It’s not something you can pick up from a few blogs online.
5. Look for hidden motives behind people’s actions
Being wary about people’s motives is necessary and normal in society. It keeps us from falling for scams and stops us from being taken as fools. But constantly looking out for hidden motives in everyone you meet is a sign that you have an unhealthy interest in reading about psychology.
6. Make assumptions about people based on their personality traits
Do you look at someone’s personality traits and make assumptions about them without any basis in fact? When we constantly read about psychology and theories, we can start to think we are experts on the subject, when in fact, we are merely dipping our toes into a vast topic.
7. You think you can tell if someone is lying or not
If you have a tendency to read psychological articles and watch behavioural programmes, where criminals are profiled, you might think you have all the tools you need for detecting liars.
In truth, it is extremely difficult to tell if someone is lying or not, and only people trained in this specific area are able to detect untruths correctly and consistently.
8. You try help people with your ‘psychological’ knowledge
You might not have an actual qualification in psychology, but that’s not going to stop you from adding your opinion in order to help those around you. Whether this is by diagnosing their mental disorder or suggesting a therapy route, you’ve know you’ve read enough psychology articles to point them in the right direction.
9. You predict ‘who’s done it’ in psychological thrillers’
People that read psychological articles are also likely to love watching psychological thrillers, either in the form of films or TV series. One thing they will always be proud of is predicting the protagonist before anyone else.
10. You like to categorise people into behavioural groups
It is human nature to categorise, this is how we make sense of the world. But if you are constantly grouping people together based on your own assumptions, then perhaps you have reached a point when you should stop reading so many psychology articles.
Psychology intrigues us because it is about us. And in a world where we are becoming even more self-obsessed, delving into our psyches and finding out more about our favourite topic, us, this should lead to more helpful discoveries.
However, if you find yourself doing any of the above, give the topic a rest for a few days. That’s after you’ve finished this one obviously.