Gullibility Personality Disorder

A regular reader has sent me a link to an article in Mail Online called “British scientist caught smuggling drugs ‘for Miss Bikini World’ blames it on his ‘gullibility disorder.’”

Apparently Paul Frampton, an eminent British physicist currently working at the University of North Carolina, established a relationship on an online dating site with a person whom he says he believed was Miss Bikini World 2007.  He flew to La Paz, Bolivia, to meet her.  Of course she wasn’t there, but a nice gentleman gave him “her” suitcase and asked if he’d be kind enough to take it to Buenos Aires.

Customs officers at Buenos Aires became suspicious and discovered more than 4 pounds of cocaine inside a false lining in the suitcase.

So now the good professor is in jail, where he says the food is “inedible.”  He’s facing a possible 16 years of prison time.

The interesting thing from the point of view of this website is that as part of his defense his lawyers hired a forensic psychologist who has “diagnosed” the professor with, believe it or not, “gullibility personality disorder.”

Now those of you with some familiarity with the DSM might be saying:  “What?  There’s no such disorder!” etc..

But – listen up.  In the DSM, after the list of the “standard” personality disorders, there is a final, often unnoticed, entry:  Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.  Here’s the APA’s definition:

“… a category provided for two situations: 1) the individual’s personality pattern meets the general criteria for a Personality Disorder and traits of several different Personality Disorders are present, but the criteria for any specific Personality Disorder are not met; or 2) the individual’s personality pattern meets the general criteria for a Personality Disorder, but the individual is considered to have a Personality Disorder that is not included in the Classification.”  (p 685, DSM-IV-TR)

With regards to item 2, here’s the APA’s definition of a personality disorder:

“…an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment. (p 685, DSM-IV-TR)

In other words, any habit that has some negative consequences.  So Professor Frampton is absolutely within his rights.  He has a serious mental illness which caused him to smuggle cocaine.

Ironically, I imagine he might have had more luck with the Argentine authorities if he’d just said that he was a ball-driven gullible chump.  But we’ll see.  Maybe he knows what he’s doing.  Maybe the whole mental illness thing is taking off in South America.

Incidentally, in the same vein, I have come to the conclusion that I – and possibly you if you’re reading this – suffer from skeptical personality disorder.  This is a serious mental illness for which I should be receiving help.  Unfortunately I’m hopelessly in denial.  I routinely develop lengthy and perverse arguments to bolster my position and adamantly refuse to present myself for treatment.  I desperately need the services of a mental health clinician.  I wonder if Miss Bikini World 2007 has a degree in psychiatry.  Perhaps she could cure me?