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"Minnesota" got on there because the test originated in their psycology department. Dr. Phasic drew it up and promptly went nuts, sawed his way out of his office with a nail file, and promptly gave all his students an A for signing their names on the final. this is also why psych is an easy-A class to this day.
Loved this article for anyone who has taken the MMPI this is so hysterical and sooo true.
Mr. Lileks, you're always first-class, and this one is a classic! Thank you!
PS - Whatever happened to Toddler(TM)? Must be Junior-High(TM) by now.
I understand they took out all the questions about fecal matter. I remember a few about black, tarry stools. Some of the questions were pretty obvious in terms of what they were getting at, like "I frequently see animals and people nobody else can see," or "People frequently tell me I should drink less alcohol," or "Ontogeny recapitulates Philogeny." But the stuff about poop; that was just weird.
The MMPI and I are old friends. When I would go to work at a nuclear power plant I would have to take the test. At each and every plant. You couldn't use the results from another plant. I took the test so many times that I had the 599 questions down to 45 minutes. Of course around my current group of associates I can truly say that I'm the only one CERTIFIED as sane. It gets a laugh. They're still not sure.
I’ve said that the southern California coast has three distinct advantages over Minnesota: no mosquitoes, moderate temperatures and no MMPI. I thought I was safe when a remark about the MMPI to my twenty five years’ junior doctor produced only a puzzled look.
Horrors, it was never killed.
Having taken the accursed thing about a half-dozen times in the fifties, in high school, applying to the UM and Honeywell, etc., all instigated by the long arm of the Psychology Dept. I wanted to add a question about dreaming of plunging psychologists into a vat of over-boiled lutefisk, but I had had quite enough.
Of all the atrocities legislated in California, none approaches the MMPI. Don’t give them any ideas.
This could be one of your very best, James. I think you could find an audience in the New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" column. Bruce McCall and Ian Frazier are two regular "Shouts" contributors, and I think you are certainly their equal. Thank you for your wonderfully witty writing; you're a Twin Cities treasure!
No lie - I took this test once, and the "shrink" told me it was invalid. She wouldn't let me take it again, though. I told her that her assessment made me feel invalid as a person, and she suggested I needed help with those feelings. This article is completely hilarious! It points out the general uselessness of the test, and proves that the only ones benefiting from it are the creators and maybe the shrinks. If someone hands this test to you with that "wearily-earnest-serious-compassionate-because-you're-lower-than-I" look on their face, turn around and calmly take the nearest exit. Do not look back. Spend your money on a good massage. Really.
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