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Seinfeld Serves as Psychiatric Inspiration for Med Students at Rutgers

A Rutgers Medical School professor has developed an exercise called "Psy-Feld" in which students watch episodes of the beloved 90's sitcom and discuss the psychopathology of the characters.

I swear this isn’t an Onion article. Olivia B. Waxman over at TIME has a piece highlighting an exercise developed by a professor at Rutgers that employs the psychopathy of Seinfeld:

“Psychiatry professor Anthony Tobia is teaching third and fourth-year medical students in the hospital’s psychiatric rotation about psychiatric disorders through the hit TV show’s eccentric characters — an exercise dubbed ‘Psy-feld,‘ reports.

The students are required to watch two repeat episodes of the show a week on TBS and come to class ready to discuss the psychopathology ‘demonstrated’ in each one.”

Either you George Costanza is a legitimate psychiatric tool (totally plausible) or Professor Tobia is just trying to catch up on his sitcom viewing. It’s probably the former, considering “Psy-feld” has been published in a medical journal.

Here’s the abstract:

OBJECTIVE: The primary purpose of this article is to introduce Psy-feld, an innovative didactic used to review mental disorders through discussion of the interpersonal relationships of the fictional characters created in Larry David’s situational comedy, Seinfeld. To introduce this novel didactic, several peripheral Seinfeld characters were selected, who while not afflicted with a psychotic disorder, demonstrate traits that serve to facilitate discussion to review the different subtypes of Delusional Disorder.

METHODS: Psy-feld is a 30-min faculty-facilitated didactic where a selected episode of the sitcom allows for review of multidisciplinary content areas considered germane to the practice of psychiatry. At Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 104 third-year medical students rotated on the Consultation-Liaison Service from July 2011-March 2014 and participated in Psy-feld.

RESULTS: Of the 104 students who participated in Psy-feld, 99 completed surveys on the didactic. Students found the didactic to be of high quality, believed it enhanced their learning, and thought that it prepared them for their final SHELF exam. Students also found it enjoyable and preferred the didactic to more traditional forms of teaching such as large group lectures.

CONCLUSIONS: Psy-feld is an example of an innovative teaching method that medical students found informative in reviewing teaching points of Delusional Disorder.

Read more at TIME

Photo credit: Rolf_52 / Shutterstock


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