“So… What’s your major?” It’s the obligatory question every college student comes to hear. For psychology majors it evokes a certain dread for the reaction that’s sure to come. It’s common to hear things like:
- “Ohmygosh are you analyzing me?” Followed by suspicious stares and tangible awkwardness as they try to figure out a way to escape you without looking like they have something to hide. (Perhaps a deep rooted insecurity?)
- “So, I have this ‘friend’ who has a problem with [deep personal secret], do I have [insert disorder]?”
- “Can you read my mind?”
The last phrase in particular evokes eye rolls from professional psychologists and psychology students alike. Each of us seems to develop a defense mechanism to ward off the idiot who asks it sometimes all too seriously. I’ve heard people say things like, “No, I missed the class where they gave us superpowers” or sarcastically “Yes, I am reading your mind. You have issues with your mother.” Today I’ve come to the conclusion that in fact the answer is, “Yes! They taught me how to read minds in my neuropscyh/biopsych class!” Because technically when you can read brain imaging pictures (like those offered by a pet scan), you’re reading their mind. Feel the power, fellow psychology and neuroscience majors. Superpowers exist, and they are ours!