Brain Babble

Unraveling neuroscience research and FAQs—without the jargon

A Mad Man, Indeed: The Psychology of Don Draper

We love him. We hate him. Mostly, we don't understand him. Who is Don Draper, and why is he the way he is? Read More


You're psycho analyzing a TV character? As WGA writer for many years, I cannot tell you how amusing this is, and what a credit you're giving to a very good television writing team. It was an enjoyable read. Thanks.... probably because I too, am fascinated with him,,,, although, I just find him incredibly sexy, no love/hate whatsoever, just.... lust.


And then there was psychology. Is it any wonder so many people outside the field of (clinical) psychology find it a pseudo science at best? The basic psychological nonsense is you see someone displaying x, y, z behaviors or saying whatever, you then insert [x] to explain why they are the way they are, which is usually based on studies of college aged kids.

In the real world one person being seen by ten different psychologists, with no knowledge of the previous diagnonsense, will find the psychologists have low to no inter-rater reliability. It's basically people who think they have a deep understanding of human nature, make judgements, and then come to conclusions that can't be falsified and could easily be completely different if another person were doing the assessment. There's a reason it's a "soft science."

But, now on Psychology Today, we have a serious researcher and doctoral candidate spilling out drivel about why Don Draper, a fictional character, is the way he is. It's laughable and will only appeal to idiots.

It's embarassing this article was posted. It's probably just her having the hots for a fantasy, an attempt to get hits and have it go viral since she'll get paid more by Psychology Today if it does, and to meet her quota of blogs.

There's a lot to be learned in neuroscience. Maybe you should stick to that.

Wait a minute...

Why are you attacking me? I was NOT analyzing a TV character. I was amused by the fact that she chose to. However, as a neuroscientists, the popularity of this fictional character does speak to something that is real, because the old mammal brain cannot distinguish between perception and reality. You are being very judgmental and presumptuous about this writer's motives and intent. It wasn't PNAS but it was an enjoyable read. I enjoy things that are amusing. Who are you, the joy police? And how dare you tell me to stick to neuroscience. Last time I checked your name was not listed as father on my birth certificate, husband on my marriage license, or the endorsing signature on my paycheck, so where do you get off telling me what I need to stick to. I encourage and applaud creative thought, and innovative thinking. Yes, this was curious in many ways, but your value judgment of her was harsh, cowardly (because you would not post your name) and attacking me cause I found aspects of it enjoyable is way out of line. Hope that you can move to some higher ground where that sustains tolerance.


And let's hope this is the case... you were directing your comments at the author... in which case that does not involve me. However, I received a private message in my box from PT saying the comment was to me. So if it was internal error, then so be it, moving on, if not, you read my response. Namaste

mistaken identity

Hi Bill

I wanted to let you know that I think Anonymous was replying to the article rather than to you. I posted a response to a another article on the site and now receive notification via e-mail every time someone replies, whether or not it was actually in response to me. It's a bit confusing.

I enjoyed reading what you wrote about Mad Men and Don Draper/Dick Whitman -- what a compelling character!



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Jordan Gaines Lewis is a science writer and Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at Penn State College of Medicine.

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