Not everyone who participates in a reality show are mentally unstable, but when a person leads a reality show and then becomes president we become worried. There has been speculation across the globe as to whether or not the new American president, Donald Trump is mentally stable.These speculations have said to be formed among political opponents, media representatives and our colleagues, that is to say psychologists. After Saturday's speech to the CIA, social media has been inundated with comments about Trump's “condition”.One question that seems to be on everyone’s mind is why and how the world's most powerful office has ended up in the hands of mad rogues?.
There has been no shortage of proposals for potential psychological disorders that Trump could meet the criteria for, but among the most frequently mentioned is "narcissistic personality disorder", "sociopath" and "psychopath". Other, less clinical terms have been used as "nutjob" "buffon”and “clown”.
There are of course many psychological dimensions of psychology, including that of psychopathology, that is, mental illness or dysfunction, that could serve as an explanation about Donald Trumps behavior. Classic personality theory would work. Anyone who wishes to use it, probably would quickly conclude that Trump sits with rather extreme Big-5 values. We would however, use a different part of psychology to explain why we, as psychologists, believe that Donald Trump is quite normal.
For example, one area of psychology is that of developmental psychology. From a developmental perspective, we are able to not only look at what is not working or considereddysfunctional, It also provides us with the opportunity to look at what is actually quite normal from a development perspective.
So let's for a moment look at Donald Trump from a developmental perspective. We have highlighted below accepted definitions of human development. These definitions also provide possible explanations to explain Trump's behavior. But since we have not had the opportunity to engage in a structured inquiry session, we have chosen to demonstrate this through his own statements in form of tweets.
The child has no understanding of the consequences. They act without thinking of the consequences. Furthermore, they may be perceived as dictatorial and selfish, but be aware that everything they believe to be their, will be seen as an extension of themselves.
The child will test their independence, which can lead to tantrums. The child wants more control which also can lead to tantrums. The child will become frustrated at disappointments which ones again can lead to tantrums.
The child will begin to be critical and define the world in simple terms. Things and people are going to be good or bad, right or wrong, pleasant or unpleasant.
Conditions tend to be flexible, at least to the child. The child may, for example, accuse others of cheating if they do not win a match.
The child will quite likely to know much more than you. This is possible to investigate through simple questions, but it can lead to tantrums.
The child may have a tendency to complain, usually regarding grown-ups or regulations, but also with regard to friends and other children. The child will feel misunderstood by many.
The child will have little tolerance for differences of opinion. Furthermore, the child will be very sensitive to what others think of him.
The child will push against adults and regulations and can be disrespectful towards others.
The child may still argue about the rules and the necessity and the detail in them. They will fight hard to find loopholes in the rule.
We have done our best to find examples that correlate with descriptions of higher ages and maturity levels, but in this work we have failed.
So based on the above, we can, with all the knowledge and experience we have, say that Donald Trump from a developmental perspective shows a completely normal development. He thus shows clearly a behavior and a maturity that is quite normal in the development for an 11 year old.
Overall, we wish that the next time someone claims that Trump is a few monkeys short of a zoo, you can emphatically underline that he is normal for an 11-year-old.
However, we see two problems in this.
1. An 11-year-old should not be president of the United States.
2. The man is 70 years old.
With Ironic Regards
Mattias Lundberg och Johan Waara
[This is a translation of a text written i Swedish, first published jan 22 - 2017. Link to Swedish text]