For many people, pop psychology is a fascinating subject and millions of us indulge our interest by spending billions on self help books every year. So if you are the type of individual who likes to waste lots of time filling in online psychological surveys to find out whether you have any serious personality disorders or undiagnosed psychological problems, are there any interesting psychological questions to ask people you know?
There are of course lots of obvious psychological questions you can ask people, some of which could be construed as offensive. Questions like ‘are you depressed?’, or the related ‘have you had any suicidal thoughts in the last few days?’ are all examples of the type of things you might ask a friend who is feeling fed up. You might get an honest answer, or you might not.
What other interesting psychological questions to ask people are there?
“Tell me about your relationship with your mother / father…”
This is a classic Freudian question and one which is bound to elicit all kinds of responses ranging from the humorous to the deeply disturbing. But why does the answer to this question provide so many important clues about what kind of relationships the person is likely to have as an adult?
If you direct this question at a potential date, you might save yourself a great deal of angst. The relationship we had with our parents whilst growing up has a profound influence on the types of relationships we form as adults. For example, if a man has a controlling and narcissistic mother, he is likely to be attracted to women of that type as an adult. The same applies to women with absent or emotionally cold fathers—they often grow up into needy and co-dependent adults who crave love, but repeatedly choose partners who are emotionally unavailable. So if you have a fatal attraction to psychotic ice queens, take a long, hard look at the type of woman your mother was.
Colors can also reveal lots about a person, so of the many interesting psychological questions to ask a person, you could do worse than ask them what their favorite color is. For example, white projects purity and cleanliness, brown is stability and reliability, red says passion and ‘look at me!’, whereas green is calmness and serenity and blue is trustworthy and always dependable. So if you want an exciting relationship, pick the girl who adores red, but if you are after commitment, go for the girl who prefers blue.
The meaning of dreams is another interesting avenue of psychology questions you could use to liven up a boring dinner party. As Freud once commented, dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious” and his seminal text, The Interpretation of Dreams is one of his greatest works.
Freud firmly believed that dreams are basically wish fulfillment and a place where our subconscious can act out our secret desires. But there are also many other interpretations of dreams and many people believe that specific dreams have particular meanings. For example, if a person reveals they have a recurring dream of being naked in public, they could be hiding a shameful secret, or if they say they dreamed about losing their teeth, such a dream could stem from a fear of sexual impotence. Either way, they are best avoided.