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Update: Freud's Report Card

Focuses on the contents of the book 'Freud Scientifically Reappraised,' by Seymour Fisher and Roger Greenberg. Anal personality types; Male homosexuality.

He frequently concocted elaborate theories based on only a few case studies.And some of his ideas sound positively daft in this era of high-tech neuroscience. But overall, Sigmund Freud "turned out to be surprisingly right," insists Seymour Fisher, Ph.D., a psychologist at the State University of New York at Syracuse. In Freud Scientifically Reappraised (John Wiley & Sons), Fisher and colleague Roger Greenberg, Ph.D., stack Siggy's theories against a century's worth of scientific inquiry. Here's how Freud fares:

THEORY: Anal personality types

PREMISE: Anal individuals—one of Freud's four proposed personality types--are especially orderly, frugal, and stubborn.

THE DATA: These traits do generally coincide in people.


THEORY: Male superego formation

PREMISE: Men develop a conscience through fear of being castrated by their fathers.

THE DATA: A father's warmth and nurturance, rather than fear, helps a son acquire moral values.


THEORY: Male homosexuality

PREMISE: Stems in part from an erotic attachment to mother and a hostile relationship with father.

THE DATA: Studies consistently reveal antagonistic relationships between dads and gay sons, even before fathers know their son is homosexual. But mothers show no pattern.


PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE): Sigmund Freud