Donald Trump’s Twitter feed will be the subject of a scientific study as part of a symposium at the Edinburgh Science Fair, the Herald is reporting. Researchers hope to use the 45th president’s Twitter feed as a case study in whether or not it’s possible to determine someone’s sanity from their Twitter feed.
Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus, a psychologist, and Dr. Raj Persaud, a psychiatrist, will host the session “On the Frontiers of Sanity,” during which they’ll look through Donald Trump’s tweets as president in order to “test how the public make decisions about a politician’s mental health by using Donald Trump’s notorious Twitter feed.”
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if McGuire-Snieckus and Persaud’s session is supposed to be a serious scientific exploration or an exercise in tongue-in-cheek snark and joke-making. It bears noting, however, that at least one other session at the symposium seems to be coming from a place of humor: Professor Peter Knight and Professor Robbie Sutton plan to host a session entitled “Fake Moon Landings and Other Persistent Conspiracies.”
It also bears noting that, in the psychiatric community, it’s understood that diagnosing one’s sanity isn’t something that’s done remotely and based on looking at only one or two factors. It’s something that’s done only after careful examination of the patient and a thorough review of all of the facts surrounding their mental health history.
Trump Faces Scottish Probe https://t.co/geghMYgtOK
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) February 13, 2019
Nevertheless, Trump’s Twitter feed has often been the subject of controversy, consternation, and/or amusement to friends, enemies, critics, and supporters alike.
Only Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have used the social media platform as POTUS (Twitter wasn’t in wide use during the administration of George W. Bush, and didn’t exist before), and Trump’s account, unlike Obama’s, is oft filled with, as Herald writer Phil Miller notes, “instant commentary on US television news or newspaper written stories about him, insults of perceived political rivals, spelling and factual mistakes and frequent use of words written in capital letters.”
Whether that reveals insanity, something else entirely, or nothing at all, however, is a subject for another story.
Nevertheless, Trump’s mental health has been called into question before it was scheduled to be a topic of discussion at the Edinburgh Science Festival. As Vice noted in a September 2018 report, “thousands” of mental health professionals believe that Trump’s behavior, which includes “emotional compulsion, impulsivity, poor concentration, narcissism, and recklessness,” could be a sign of dementia.