Sunday, October 26, 2008

Maverick Personality Disorder

Palin may reject complicated scientific definitions.

Despite this, McCain and Palin have managed to make a contribution to the scientific literature.

Before this campaign, the term "maverick" was used loosely, imprecisely.

Now, on the basis of extensive behavioral observations and study, we can firmly say what a "maverick" actually is.

It's a personality disorder:

Maverick Personality Disorder 400.00 (Cluster B)

Maverick Personality Disorder is defined by a tendency to make rash, impulsive decisions that are regarded as both bold and correct--even if the decision directly contradicts another "bold" and "correct" decision that has been made only moments before. This impulsivity is to be distinguished from that seen in Borderline Personality Disorder in that in the latter disorder, self-destructive behavior is overt and intentional, whereas in Maverick Personality Disorder, the impulsive behavior is largely self-destructive, but the individual is rarely aware of it, instead thinking that they are acting "from their gut" in a reasonable fashion.

Sharp mood swings, dramatic gestures, and statements that reflect poor judgment and at times reduced perception of reality (e.g. "the fundamentals of the economy are sound") often occur in the disorder.

A. Three of the following symptoms, displayed in a persistent fashion over a period of 1 year, are necessary for the disorder:

a) Impulsive, rash thoughts and decision-making, often on matters of considerable long-term importance, the impact of which may have major deterimental effects on the individual or others. The impulsive decisions are often justified by such statements as being a "courageous thinker", and by disavowing thought and deliberation as negative characteristics. Notably, despite repeated negative outcomes of this impulsive decision making, the individual still maintains that this behavioral style is correct, and will become testy and irritable when challenged, or when reminded of previous negative outcomes. Ideas that are entirely at odds with each other may be seen concurrently, and such contradictions may be presented by the individual as entirely rational.

2) Dramatic, sweeping, impulsive and grandiose gestures that are meant to change a situation in its entirety, yet are often poorly thought through. The individual may present these acts as gallant and heroic, yet the individual often appears desperate, and provides only a paper-thin rationale for the efficacy of the actions.

3) Extreme mood swings or changes in affect, from apparently happy, to extreme anger and rage. Often these emotions will occur simultaneously, as in the "angry grimacing smile."

4) Binges, sprees or reckless/dangerous behavior without recognizing the potential consequences of such behavior, such as shopping sprees, entering interviews without knowledge of the subject at hand, or naming Vice Presidential candidates without sufficient vetting.

5) "Going Rogue": The tendency to stray from previous professional, social and personal commitments in an effort to protect the self.

6) Dissociative Speech Disturbances: The marked tendency to speak for extensive period of time without any apparent linkage between speech centers and centers of actual thought. The individual may appear entirely confident in what they are saying, speaking at length without pause, without displaying any deliberation, cerebration, contemplation or any other forms of thought whatsoever. With these speech disturbances may occur various accompanying behaviors, such as winking, thumb-raising, etc.

7) Dissociative Changes in Ideation: The individual may disavow major aspects of what they claimed to be the center of their beliefs--e.g., the viability of major tax cuts for the wealthy.

8) Verbal Echolalia: The seemingly uncontrollable repetition of certain words and phrases, even when they appear to have ritualistic meaning or have little or no purpose, remaining utility, or underlying truth. E.g., "My friends", "Socialist", "Joe the Plumber".

B. These behaviors must cause marked impairment in one's professional activities or campaign, and are obsessively maintained even when their destructive impact is clear.

C. These behaviors cannot occur exclusively during a period of Bipolar/Manic Depressive Illness, Major Depression, or political inactivity.

Codes for severity:

MPD Mild 400.01: Mutters to self and wanders grumpily during debate; threatens to attack Russia because it is in view;

MPD Moderate 400.02: Races to "save economy" that he claims is fundamentally sound; Appeals to others as "Average Mom", then wears $150,000 in wardrobe and makeup;

MPD Severe 400.03: Invokes "Joe the Plumber" despite long past sell-by date; Sits down in interview with Katie Couric.