The bathroom of the mind

The latest issue of The Psychologist has hit the shelves and it has a freely available and suprisingly thought-provoking article about bathroom psychology.

If you’re thinking it’s an excuse for cheap jokes you’d be mistaken as takes a genuine and inquisitive look at why so little psychology, Freud excepted, has been concerned with one of our most important bodily functions.

This part, on the history of theories regarding graffiti found in toilets, is as curious is it is bizarre.

Toilet graffiti, dubbed ‘latrinalia’ by one scholar, has drawn attention from many researchers and theorists over the years. Many of them have focused on gender, using public lavatories as laboratories for studying sex differences in the content and form of these scribblings. Alfred Kinsey was one of the first researchers to enter the field, surveying the walls of more than 300 public toilets in the early 1950s and finding more erotic content in men’s and more romantic content in women’s. Later research has found that men’s graffiti also tend to be more scatological, insulting, prejudiced, and image-based, and less likely to offer advice or otherwise respond to previous remarks.

Theorists have struggled to explain differences such as these. True to his time, Kinsey ascribed them to women’s supposedly greater regard for social conventions and lesser sexual responsiveness. Psychoanalytic writers proposed that graffiti writing was a form of ‘phallic expression’ or that men pursued it out of an unconscious envy of women’s capacity for childbirth. Semioticians argued that men’s toilet graffiti signify and express political dominance, whereas women’s respond to their subordination. Social identity theorists proposed that gender differences in latrinalia reflect the salience of gender in segregated public bathrooms: rather than merely revealing their real, underlying differences, women and men polarise their behaviour in these gender-marked settings so as to exaggerate their femaleness or maleness.

The article looks at many other curious episodes in the bashful psychology of the bathroom.
 

Link to The Psychologit on ‘toilet psychology’

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Interesting topic.

    The comedian, Dane Cook, has a comedy bit about writing on the walls of public bathroom stalls.

    It’s on YouTube. Check it out, it is funny.

  2. Pia Marjukka Laasonen
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Dear Tom Stafford,you can write and dataspeak.Matrix hn evidental your own recearch maybe problemprosess first brains can think their personalityprocess and let your brains work be free,total lupus lupus maybe.Not in my way is think womens emotionalness hormons are not so good as testosteroni.Mens World This is.Leader all so almoust all are mens.Way to think.Freud was not in my modelling.Systems like persons itselfs.Happy people live norms way.Let humans are Professors or Poors Poems.Home is home.Kosmos,Karma calls
    Tom Staffor kicks,links,life magazine.Woods,bears in our Country in walking streets.Jungle or Junky.Totalitary Countries…Zum beisbiel rasism,nazism,kluk klux klan and The End of Life skeletors.Nowadays go on.

  3. Pia Marjukka Laasonen
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Dear Society,cant reed.Scitsofrenia and most of mental ilnesies are like Testament of peoples own parents.If someone have so bad sikness like scitsofrenia is,dont blame yourself,one or two parents have it too.If Behavior perhaps Psychologist cant help anymore try psychiatrist and he can help you.

    • Pia Marjukka Laasonen
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      Dear Stafford,diskussion about mental illnession,goes like this.parents have brains and I use for example Testament of parents brains to child.Healty open mind clear,happy,sadness are part 6f humans.Feelings go on,no notice yourself,or watch yourself dont be undulat in gage.Practisin one to onother like humans in talking,walkins eweryday life is good have some frends too.Monarcy like England,no same education although here in Finland we have easier,USA public scools and private…so on.óueens song Show must go on like Countries.

      • Pia Marjukka Laasonen
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        Dear Stafford,why you send something about scitsofrenia,if my links dont open up,brainlinks are maybe sleeping.Still it was intresting to take contact.Newermind,Society is yours do what you want.


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