Another element of Hollywood Psych
(along with the Inkblot Test
and the "What was your mother like?
" question) regarding comedic possibilities for a psychiatrist setting. Typically the scenario is that the psychiatrist will ask the patient a series of words and tell the patient to say the first word that comes to mind.
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- In one sketch by German comedian Dieter Hallervorden. At one point, he answers to everything with "broken", even when the psychologist says "children", so he has to correct himself. Later, he misunderstands one word as an insult and insults her back, after which Volleying Insults ensue.
- Batman Adventures #9: Bruce Wayne visits a psychiatrist who tries this on him. Bruce has to lie all the◊ way◊ through◊ the session.◊
Bruce: (thinks of Poison Ivy) Money.
Doctor: One is enough. Good.
- In Batman of Arkham, psychotherapist Bruce Wayne tries this with Two-Face fruitlessly ("One." "Two." "Life." "Two." "Death." "Two."), culminating in a breakthrough when Two-Face responds to "Murder" with "Happens."
- In yet another Batman example, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth has Batman undergoing a word examination test from a shrink as part of a gesture to show The Joker he's not mad. It quickly goes into a bad place ("Mother." "Pearl," coupled with the imagine of Martha Wayne's pearl necklace snapping) and he eventually stops it once the imagery starts piling around the death of his parents and bats, much to The Joker's delight.
- Doc Samson does this to Multiple Man when interviewing X-Factor. The latter claims he himself isn't sure if the answers were genuine or if he made them up.
Samson: Black. —> Jamie: Motown.
Samson: Up. —> Jamie: And away.
Samson: Over. —> Jamie: The Rainbow.
Samson: In. —> Jamie: Sane.
Samson: Alone. —> Jamie: Hell.
- Done by the main character to David in Dan Brown's Digital Fortress.
- In the original book Cheaper By The Dozen, the kids are given this test by a psychologist. The've seen it before, so they mess with her head by purposely giving answers that seem to indicate a morbid mindset. Then one of them gives the answer before being given the word...
- Ben Richards gets one of these in The Running Man by Stephen King when he's trying out to get on any kind of game show so that he can get money for his sick daughter's treatment.
- In Scorpia Rising, Julius Grief recieves such a test from his prison psychiatrist. It mostly serves to establish his lust for violence ("Dog."—>"Bone." "Kitchen."—>"Knife."), though at one point he slips up; the doctor says "Letter" and he answers "Bed", almost revealing that he recently received a secret message left under his pillow.
Live Action TV
- Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive" has a variant where the words are actually little pictures displayed on the box masks the psychiatrist and the patient (Dolby himself) wear. Takes place around 2:38 in the video; watch it here.
- In the closest thing anyone has ever come to a shoot interview with Delirious, who never ever stops being Delirious, Smart Mark Video gave Delirious a word association test.
- A veritable comedy of errors happened on Monday Night RAW when Dean Ambrose was sent for a psyciatric evaluation (though he was shown pictures of people instead of given words):
- Reversed in the 'Word Disassociation Game' (or 'Word for Word') of Im Sorry I Havent A Clue, where the teams have to provide words that aren't associated with the previous word in any way. If the opposing team spots a connection, they buzz in and gain a point.
- In You Can't Take It with You, Mr. and Mrs. Kirby are asked to play this game, writing down the first word they think of when Penny says a word. Mr. Kirby's answers: "potatoes—steak"; "bathroom—toothpaste"; "lust—unlawful"; "honeymoon—trip"; "sex—male." Mrs. Kirby's answers: "potatoes—starch"; "bathroom—Mr. Kirby" ("well, you do take a long time"); "lust—human" (Mr. Kirby objects when she explains that lust is a human emotion); "honeymoon—dull"; "sex—Wall Street" (for a reason she can't comfortably discuss).
- In the first episode of Sam & Max Save The World, Sybil psychoanalyses Sam and you have to get him diagnosed with the fictional Artificial Personality Dissorder. One of the method she uses is free association and you can do whathever "you feel like" (Mainly, clicking things or, when you click on her, answer a word). It's doesn't have a set of other choices and failing to get the actual one you seek will take Sybil to comment you have something but she won't tell you. Well, THAT, and the following conversation:
Sybil: I see you are a general violent person.
Sam: Whoa! That's a blowing.
Max: Yeah, I always thought of you as an specifically violent person.
- Fallout: New Vegas: The player is asked to take one during character creation, complete with a number of humorous answers, such as "Human Shield" in response to "Mother".
- Dragon Age II - Varric and Anders' banter in the "Mark of the Assassin" expansion includes a back-and-forth version of this. Orlesian = fop, party = crash, and Templar = "Argh, Anders is talking about Templars again."
- Dragon Age: Inquisition - Dorian tries this with Sera, only to find her answer to everything he picks is "arrows".
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "Fear of a Krabby Patty", SpongeBob visits psychiatrist Dr. P. Lankton, who lists ingredients of a Krabby Patty. SpongeBob just repeats whatever Plankton says. Plankton then explains that he supposed to say a different word. Then,
- An identical scene occurs in an episode of All Grown Up!.
- Duckman episode "Forbidden Fruit" had this example.
- Animaniacs "De-Zanitized" Yakko responds to Dr. Scratchansniff's word association, just not the words that the doctor wanted.
Dr Scratchansniff: Get out, get out! Get OUT!
Yakko: Leave, leave, leave.
- In Two Stupid Dogs, "A Quarter":
Airplane. Little Dog:
Ball! Big Dog:
Women. Little Dog:
Ball! Big Dog:
Grasshopper. Little Dog:
Ball! Big Dog:
Food. Doctor: (sigh)
This isn't working! Little Dog:
Ball! Big Dog:
Food. (Doctor slap his forehead.)
- An episode of Code Monkeys has the entire staff evaluated by a psychologist. Mr. Larrity, the craziest of them, associates "orphanage" with arson.
- In real-life therapy, the therapist doesn't really care about what a person responds, they are interested in seeing how long it takes to respond. The reasoning is that if a person takes a longer-than-average time to formulate a response to a particular prompt, they have a mental block (formally, a "complex") on that topic and it deserves to be probed deeper.