Mad, bad or sad? The Psychology of Personality Disorders – Professor Glenn D Wilson

Mad, bad or sad? The Psychology of Personality Disorders – Professor Glenn D Wilson

Personality disorders are a contentious issue in psychiatry. How many are there and how reliable is their diagnosis? Are we just medicalising bad behaviour and social inadequacy. How should medical and criminal justice sectors divide responsibility?

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website.


January 26, 2012 / 38 Comments / by / in
  • Man, this guy needs a diagnosis and treatment more than the people he's talking about..!!

  • lil bit of all…

  • Interesting thoughts on certain traumatic life events precipitating personality disorders

  • according to some of these posts- I am more convince that the worst kind of people to talk to are those who never worked in the field of mental health or done any research,, yet they have answers ! these people just talk off the top of their heads and believe me that is no  psychology!

  • Pathetic, stupid and deluded.

  • Is anyone else here because they've realized every one else in their life is completely nuts? Me either.

  • @43 minutes: People who cause death by dangerous – or reckless – driving belong in prison.  End of.

  • thanks

  • My God! This guy is so prejudiced!! This is the kind of doctor who don't understand the diseases they treat and allow their world view to distort the reality

  • Red

    Oh. The chick with BPD wrecks his life? Maybe he shouldn't have been cheating in the first place. Glad you thought his cheating was so comical, doc.

  • Such an outdated mode of thinking, and it seems this professor understands little about women's hormonal issues.

  • This so-called professor himself is a pompous, narcissist. This video is outdated since we are just about in 2016 and the DSM 5 is already out. I have no idea where he acquired his degree, but i hope it is not a PhD, as he holds some of the most biased, and unempirical views, that are of no substance nor scientific backing in backing his perspectives of outright denial of most mentioned personality disorders. I am just grateful that all my professors are far more knowledgeable than this man. It is unfortunate that unaware people may actually believe his theories of crap.

  • He actually says that women love a good psychopath because they can smell the testosterone. ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!! He must have had a woman do a number on him to hold such little value to a woman's existence. Once again, he claims the psychopathy can be treated. However, there is NO sufficient evidence to show that there are valid treatments for psychopathy. i have no idea where he is gathering his information from except his own deranged and distorted mind. I cannot even watch the rest of this crap,

  • I hate these narcissistic men who want the wifey and family, do class As an sleep around, they don't have a disorder they're just entitled and greedy.

  • He was correct. By defining these disorders, that would mean business for
    Psychologists and Psychiatrists as well as a lot of money for pharmaseutical (sp) companies. The initial DSM 1 was printed in the 40's I believe. They're up to
    around 5 or 6 now. Has that made the mental health field a ton of money or
    what ?? I feel that more needs to be done to PREVENT these disorders, but
    there's no money in prevention. That makes the medical field utterly useless.
    They take the same approach with physical disorders. Rarely do they talk
    about prevention because there's NO MONEY in prevention. This too makes
    them nothing more than charlatans. We have to do our best to figure out
    what strategies to use to stay healthy mentally and physically. Very important
    to maintain a strong support system.

  • I'm so glad this video is 4 years old. That comment about video games really didn't sit well with me XDD

  • Such a compassionate man, lol.

  • People have always been fucked up! we're all a bit crazy LOL

  • Psychopathy is a result of our artificial hierarchical social order which has prevented evolution for a long time. It made sense in earlier times but has become a threat for the existence of mankind. It's a dead end branch of evolution and the faster we realize this, the more damage we can prevent and the faster we can progress.

  • umm personally I think it's outrageous that the Michael Douglas character is assumed to be a victim of st least less culpable that the Glenn Close character. He was happy yo betray his wife commit adultery did walk away. This indicates a pathological sense of entitlement, utter selfishness and arrogance and complete irresponsibility. These are all alloplastic defences. Both characters are narcissistic

  • Any criticism worth making about mental illness was made by Thomas Szasz.

  • I get the impression that many commenters didn't even listen to the talk and/or their preconceptions about the subject matter are dictating their perceptions of both the talk and the speaker. For instance, many commenters erroneously claim that he has/provides no evidence for his claims.

  • Very sexist in many areas. Which is unfortunate as he is intelligently informative about personality disorders. I suppose old people do that due to not bothering to keep up to date with the society of today, rather than staying way back when I was a lad? Also he makes jokes about people who suffer from mental illness and laughs.

  • ted bundy was a great genius doing God's work but unfortunately if u have a huge number of Hyenas fighting against one Lion , who do think will be defeated

  • some people are so used with sugarcoating.. well ladies truths are bitter sometimes

  • Lord my enemies are draining me there putting me in depressions. There accusing me for things there do and there parents do! They have my number Even if you block them they will trouble you!! They will think of you and waste bare time just thinking mad crazy stuff about you! How can I stop ✋🏾 haters from thinking of me! I want them to think about them selves and there live life! Why are hating time wasters! Why do haters drain your energy why👎🏾seriously! Any ways god bless these enemies of mine! I hope to god there find there inner peace! I hope they go through what I'm going through in Jesus name amen 🙏

  • Prof Wilson is an extremely knowledgeable academic, I think that maybe this talk is aimed at mental health professionals.  As a psychologist, I identify with the difficulties he describes.  His comments about women may not be sexist, women are given some diagnoses more than men, while the reverse is true of other disorders.  A well informed talk.

  • does "bad" even really exist in this case? Some people are mad (old term for mentally psychotic/psychosis). Which is sad. It's not the victims' fault, they didn't cause it, they don't "want" it. You of all damn people should know that. 😒

  • So he's being a damn woman sucked in the past, it sucks now & it'll always suck? (actually, he's probably right about that.)

  • if this video was from 2012, why's he reading statistics/#'s, facts from the 90's? 😕 He's right that it was harder for women in the past but mostly only when it comes to helping them deal with their periods & that crap. Women these days are still emotionally fucked. The rate of abused & killed women, went way up in 2016. But not much has changed at all to help them mentally (depression, etc), in some places it's much worse now. Of course in some countries it's better now a days but not by much.

  • What if David Icke is right? He'll have the last laff.

  • Glenn, my story of hearing voices may give you a new revelation of mental illness that you have not yet considered. The Christian Holy Bible tells us that there is an invisible war on earth involving evil demonic spirits who can speak into our ears all manner of thoughts, cause confusion, depression,and most importantly they want to keep us from our GOD through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! The Lord helped me in this battle and can help others . Please listen to my story for real help and understanding. click here Praying for you, love, Carol

  • ICD is International Classification of Diseases, not Disorders. ICD is not singularily on mental ailments. The Schizotypal Personality Disorder in DSM is a just a disorder, Schizotypal Disorder, the personality disorder is included within that grouping. By some it is called "Schizophrenia Light" (patients may use that term, hardly doctors) . But as far as I know the diagnoses represent more or less the same condition.

  • this guy is a moron

  • When he is referring to ADHD, we have a clear and concise testing method. RTSD Which tests for sustained reaction time variability, something unique to ADHD patients due to the much more rapid rate of dopamine reuptake in the frontal cortex.

  • yup, he lost me on all the subtle anti-feminism tones…… I bailed at 11:05 min . i'm fine with the data but the opinions on female studies… geesh.. I'll find another learning video so I can avoid cringing

  • This is one of the most concise, global views to this mystery of behavior classification I have seen. They say with a narcissist to not pay attention to what they say, but what they do. Rather than have all these disorder classifications that appear on a continuum of symptomatic severity and often share co-morbidity, just simplify with mad, bad and sad. We should never use a label to get a criminal off or slander innocent people acting strangely under stress. A holistic approach combining bio-psycho-social elements along with accurate brain measurement would solve a lot of the guess work of pathology and progress of these so called diseases. I love the Bible as the ultimate authority for human behavior types. The law of God shows us who we are and it never changes, unlike the DSM. We are all diseased with sin, so disorder is in the blood. How we react to our inborn nature makes or breaks us. Who we are is what we do. The righteous are not those who never think evil, but consistently press toward the standard of higher morality with accountability for actions. The wicked are cunningly manipulative and destructive, for they constantly deceive themselves and will not change.

  • Ted Bundy also had a long peacock finger – This is indicative of high testosterone levels, a person who tends to take risks, will point the finger at others instead of first looking at themselves.

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