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.
By PT Staff published July 1, 1996 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
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
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