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Is it possible to make accurate psychological diagnoses based on forum posts?

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posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 08:40 PM
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I discussed this issue with someone who claimed to be a professional psychotherapist recently. We had the discussion on a forum that is infamous for trolling, so I was surprised when the professional psychotherapist claimed that accurate psychological diagnoses based on posts on that forum are possible. I disagreed with that point of view.

I have good reasons for that view. I know that I'm frequently role playing to an extent on that forum, and people there have gotten the wrong impression about me based on that. Furthermore, my private communications with posters on that forum led me to my conclusion. I found out the following about the five people I chatted privately with from that forum.

One claimed she would never reveal anything completely truthful about herself online, one claimed she had 20 different personalities and could shift in and out of them at will, one almost never posts anything serious on the forum (she writes 90% inane babble) while in private she wrote like a professional writer with a deep philosophical understanding of life, one claimed to be completely honest on the forum (despite the fact she joked around/lied frequently enough), and one claimed to be completely honest while lying a substantial amount of the time.

So, how much truth is being revealed about people's personalities on a forum? The professional psychotherapist claimed a lightly moderated public forum is the second best way to make a psychological diagnosis of a person (with a face-to-face professional evaluation being the best). The following thread and article are examples of how they are not facing the facts.

Do you engage in self-censorship on this forum?


71 percent of all the users surveyed engaged in some self-censorship either on new posts or in comments, and the median self-censorer did so multiple times.
71% of Facebook Users Engage in 'Self-Censorship'

edit on 7-3-2017 by Profusion because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 08:50 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

A think the anonymity of forums allows people to truly be themselves, even if it's exaggerated one way or another. So unless you are completely being somebody you're not, in a way its possible to analyze people to some degree, if you know what you're looking for.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 08:57 PM
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a reply to: Profusion




Is it possible to make accurate psychological diagnoses based on forum posts?


No.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 08:58 PM
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originally posted by: Profusion
One claimed she would never reveal anything completely truthful about herself online, one claimed she had 20 different personalities and could shift in and out of them at will, one would almost never post anything serious on the forum (she writes 90% inane babble) while in private she wrote like a professional writer with a deep philosophical understanding of life, one claimed to be completely honest on the forum (despite the fact she joked around/lied frequently enough), and one claimed to be completely honest while lying a substantial amount of the time.


Everywhere I go it's the same old me. Always has been. In real life everyone expects people to act different ways around different people. I find this to be disingenuous. i.e. I enjoy some drinks but loathe bar scenes based on this. Everyone's fake, well damn near everyone.



Okay, so I'm far less vulgar display of language in here than I usually am in real life.


edit on 7-3-2017 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:07 PM
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no i dont think so.

people are not well represented their $#%%posting
edit on 7-3-2017 by dashen because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:10 PM
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originally posted by: knowledgehunter0986
a reply to: Profusion

A think the anonymity of forums allows people to truly be themselves, even if it's exaggerated one way or another. So unless you are completely being somebody you're not, in a way its possible to analyze people to some degree, if you know what you're looking for.


In some cases that's true. In some of my threads I take one little shred of my personality and I base the entire point of the thread on that shred. Many posters have gotten the wrong impression of me based on that.

Out of the four posters from this forum who I've chatted with somewhat extensively privately...

One seemed to be honest but struck me as being a game player. She lied to me once about something significant, and she came off as being somewhat disingenuous.

One admitted to lying a lot on this forum, and she admitted to self-censoring herself constantly.

One told me that her persona on this forum was "a shell" of her true self. That person is so different in reality to what they appear to be here, it's unreal.

One told me that everything she writes in relation to this forum or our communications is a fabrication. How much worse can the deceit be?
edit on 7-3-2017 by Profusion because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:11 PM
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I would say no because facial expressions, body language, eye contact and voice tone are too important in an assessment. Perhaps a psych tone or generalization could be derived, but accuracy would be too inconsistent, imo.

Plus are all people their real selves on line or does the anonymity encourage exaggerated expressions or refrained expression. How honest are posters also, and even the ones that are genuinely themselves, only a portion of perspective is available, especially given the ambiguity of typed sentences.

So while some accuracy could be achieved, and some posters diagnosed, I think it would be unfair overall to conclude based on forum posts alone.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:12 PM
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I think it might be true.

Posting on a forum such as this is a form of anonymity. Depending on the forum and restrictions placed , you are free to bring the real you out.
You still have the checks and balances, ie, stars and flags and T&C.
But, in a way, it gives you a false sense of fame and notoriety.
You can be whoever you want to be. Feed off of other people .

Or, you can discover the real you, as I did.

I have done all the above.

In the real world, things are different. Your actions and opinions are judged differently because in the real world, we are a bunch of crazies .



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:13 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I believe this question came up a while back in an OP on ATS where the poster tried to justify that Trump was psychological unfit and exhibited numerous psychological symptoms. The psychologist quoted was a professor at a prestigious ivy league college.

The premise was that this trained psychologist could diagnose Trump without personally evaluating him.
I called Bulls*it for two reasons: First, I agree that people play a role on-line and are rarely truthful and completely honest in any pubic forum. Secondly, the "Goldwater Rule" which was adopted by the American Psychiatric Assoc. in 1960's states that it is unethical for any psychologist to make a diagnosis without personally interviewing the subject.

I believe that until you actually meet face to face with an individual you can only assume that what you know about an individual is real.....except me....I'm real as hell.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:15 PM
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a reply to: waftist

Certain stuff can be obvious. Agenda's. So much surrounding that dynamic. But not on first encounter. Some people just get off on peddling fiction even on sensitive subjects like 9/11. Others outright Feign Ignorance, and stuff like that, to push their own self-delusions. There's a lot of ways to approach benchmarking this generalized topic.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:25 PM
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a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss

I agree there and one can certainly get a jist of posters personality too, especially if it's agenda driven.

I guess one can get a sense from online posting but as far as definitive clinical diagnosis, I don't think so generally. Some exceptions could be if someone is hearing voices or making physical threats or severe incoherence perhaps, but then again is that that person or just their online persona, and how are we to really know the difference.

Another interesting factor is how our imagination sometimes projects our own interpretation to fill in the blanks when reading posts.
edit on 7-3-2017 by waftist because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:27 PM
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Unlikely, basically because there are only a few qualified psychologists who participate on forums like this. Most "educated" people on this forum are not. They might have a few psychology courses. Even Ted Bundy had a B.A. in psychology, but would you believe he was a qualified therapist? Hell, no. I mean, Bo Xian had a PhD in psychology and nobody here liked him and he's history. So Bottom Line is that very few people are qualified and all we have here are amateurs.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:31 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I don't think psychological diagnoses. But I am being accurate 99.9% of the time on this forum.


edit on 7-3-2017 by reldra because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:36 PM
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a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
Agendas can run as deep as the mind dwells.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:36 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

I can hit the mark pretty damn close and I don't need credentials to do it either.

Step right up! Win a fabulous prize if I can't guess your weight within 10 lbs. and psychological state within 3 cuckoos!




edit on 7-3-2017 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:39 PM
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originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: Profusion

I don't think psychological diagnoses. But I am being accurate 99.9% of the time on this forum.


Only in your dreams.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:40 PM
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a reply to: Profusion

That's why I said you have to know what you're looking for. Real eyes realize real lies. Of course you won't be able to get a complete accurate analysis because humans are so complex and there are so many nuances that don't translate through text. It also depends on the conversation, the mud pit is probably not the right place to do arm chair analysis, although you can still learn a lot about people there.

I think it's a lot more to do with their tone, demeanor, their thought process, their reactions and the way they respond are the most telling.

If the person is just a pathological liar and is fabricating their entire existence on a forum, the problem is with them.



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:43 PM
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Quack quack!



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:43 PM
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originally posted by: schuyler

originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: Profusion

I don't think psychological diagnoses. But I am being accurate 99.9% of the time on this forum.


Only in your dreams.


That .1% of error refers to the inaccuracy of that outrageous claim



edit on 7-3-2017 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2017 @ 09:46 PM
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a reply to: reldra

Did you mean genuine?





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