TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Sound Like Anyone You Know?

Mikita Brottman, Nutty Professors, Chronicle of Higher Education:

Ask anybody what adjective goes best with the word "professor," and the answer will almost certainly be "absent-minded," or possibly "nutty."...

It has often been observed that the more prodigious the intellect, the more it can compromise other aspects of the personality, such as self-awareness and social grace....

Talented thinkers with strange personalities often find a home in academe.On campuses, people are usually willing to overlook the odd behavior of their colleagues, or to accept it as part of the intellectual package; students generally find such characters quirky and lovable.

The absent-minded professor becomes more difficult to handle, however, when his behavior verges on the dysfunctional. All vocations attract certain personality types; academe appeals particularly to introspective, narcissistic, obsessive characters who occasionally suffer from mood disorders or other psychological problems. Often, these difficulties go untreated because they are closely tied to enhanced creativity, as can be the case with obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, and the kind of high-functioning autism known as Asperger's syndrome.

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