When we hear someone say that he is a victim of covert surveillance our immediate reaction is that the person is paranoid. Generally, only paranoid people claim to be victims of covert surveillance. The claim "I am being watched" will tend to provoke the reaction "You are paranoid!"
But let us assume that a person is in fact a victim of covert surveillance. How would he know that he is being watched? What powers would the individual have to possess to appreciate the fact that he is under surveillance? Would the individual require some superhuman powers? Or would the individual only need certain unusual -- but psychologically recognized -- personality factors?
The following is a personality profile of a person who might be able to detect that he was being surveilled covertly. The individual who is sensitive to covert clues in the environment might be unusual, but not necessarily paranoid.
REALITY TESTING -- Protension
Subject exhibits a high level of ego strength. He is vigilant, suspicious, skeptical, distrustful, and oppositional (protension). Subject's orientation to the environment contrasts with the following factors associated with a low level of ego strength: trusting, unsuspecting, accepting, unconditional, easy (alaxia).
REALITY TESTING -- HYPERVIGILANCE -- NEED FOR INTELLECTUAL MASTERY
Subject accepts id drives and fears, and handles them through a strong ego, which is constantly engaged in reality testing. Subject reaches out for every form of clue in his environment and retains almost every bit of information, which evidently helps to satisfy his need for intellectual control of his relationships with the outer world. Subject is sensitive to every nuance of reaction from the outer world as it pertains to him. Myden, W. "An Interpretation and Evaluation of Certain Personality Characteristics Involved in Creative Production." In: A Rorschach Reader at 164-65. Sherman, M.H., ed. (New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1960). The individual's responses on the Rorschach test would be detailed, expansive, and unconventional. He might be accused of "showing off" by the Rorschach test examiner.
REALITY TESTING -- SOCIAL SENSITIVITY -- FEAR OF CONTAMINATION AS EGO STRENGTH -- IDENTITY DISTURBANCE -- DEPRESSIVE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Subject tends to be a non-joiner, but is socially sensitive. He is fearful of undue influence from others (according to Hartmann, the fear of contamination from others can be a product of ego strength) and it may be his very sensitivity to what others are thinking and feeling that makes him shun too much company. Subject seems to have only a tenuous sense of his own identity. Subject's sensitivity together with his depressive psychopathology disposes him to very easily identify himself with others; and, lacking certainty in his own uniqueness, feels an especial need to assert and preserve what he feels to be precarious. Storr, A. The Dynamics of Creation at 190 (New York: Atheneum, 1972).
REALITY TESTING -- SOCIAL SENSITIVITY -- CAUSE -- DISTURBED DEVELOPMENTAL ENVIRONMENT
Subject is unusually sensitive to implicit messages contained in the communications of others. Subject's sensitivity results from his adaptation to a disturbed developmental environment in which there were often remarkable discrepancies between what family members said they felt and what they actually felt. Rothenberg, A. Creativity and Madness at 12 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990).
REALITY TESTING -- HYPERVIGILANCE -- ADAPTIVE PARANOIA -- CAUSE -- DISTURBED DEVELOPMENTAL ENVIRONMENT
Subject's interaction with exploitive and manipulative persons in a disturbed developmental environment forced him into an adaptive paranoid attitude. Subject's early environment demanded constant wariness, the habit of observation, and attendance on moods and tempers; the noting of discrepancies between speech and action; a certain reserve of demeanor and automatic suspicion of sudden favors. Shengold, L. Soul Murder at 244-45 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
REALITY TESTING -- SPLITTING -- OBSERVING/EXPERIENCING EGO -- SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THINKING
Subject exhibits a split between the observing ego and the experiencing ego (a vertical split) of unusual magnitude, which he is able to put to adaptive, creative use. The strength and pervasiveness of his isolative defenses do resemble what is found in those who have to ward off the overstimulation and rage that are the results of child abuse. Shengold, L. Soul Murder at 83 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
REALITY TESTING -- SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THINKING -- SENSITIVITY TO DETAILS/PECULIARITIES
Subject possesses greater creative potential than many of his peers; he has greater capacity for regression in the service of the ego and an ego-controlled availability of primary process thinking. Subject's mental approach is unusually systematic (as disclosed by his detailed and expansive responses on Rorschach testing); he handles objective data with an especially keen awareness of peculiarities and selective theoretical interest, which indicates a high reality testing potential. Subject's easy access to infantile fantasies and experiences suggests a capacity for creative integration of the alien past into the life cycle, a capacity that lies beyond mere disruptive psychopathology. Ducey, C. "The Life History and Creative Psychopathology of the Shaman: Ethnopsychoanalytic Perspectives." In: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. Vol. 7: 173-230 at 176. Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D., contributing ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976).
SYNTHETIC FUNCTIONING -- CAUSE/EFFECT THINKING -- NEED TO RECONCILE INNER/OUTER WORLDS -- NEED FOR INTELLECTUAL MASTERY
Subject's synthetic functioning, a libido-derived function, is highly developed, and impels him to harmonious unification and creativity in the broadest sense of the term. Subject's highly-developed synthetic functioning impels him to simplify, to generalize, and ultimately to understand--by assimilating external and internal elements, by reconciling conflicting ideas, by uniting contrasts, and by seeking for causality. Campbell, R.J. Psychiatric Dictionary at 734 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, 6th ed.).
SYNTHETIC FUNCTIONING -- AUTOPLASTIC ADAPTATION TO OBJECT LOSS -- DEFENSIVE WITHDRAWAL OF EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT IN MOTHER
The unusual extension of subject's synthetic function, beyond conventional parameters, may be viewed as an autoplastic adaptation to a severe stressor, namely, traumatic loss of the maternal object. Nunberg, H. "The Synthetic Function." Practice and Theory of Psychoanalysis at 127. (New York: International Universities Press, 1948).
Subject has been diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder and is "exquisitely sensitive" -- in addition to being deeply curious about others; hungry for love; envious of others' spontaneity; intensely needy of involvement with others; capable of excitement with carefully selected intimates. Akhtar, S. Schizoid Personality Disorder: A Synthesis of Developmental, Dynamic, and Descriptive Features. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 151:499-518, 1987.
Subject has a high level of psychological mindedness. He has a highly-developed capacity for self-examination, self-reflection, introspection and personal insight as well as an ability to recognize meanings that underlie overt words and actions, to appreciate emotional nuance and complexity, and to recognize the links between past and present. He has insight into his own and others' motives and intentions. He has an above average insight into mental life. He has a highly-developed capacity for self-understanding and an interest in the motivation and behavior of others.
NEED FOR COGNITION
Subject has a high need for cognition (NFC), and is therefore inclined towards effortful cognitive activities. Need for cognition has been variously defined as "a need to structure relevant situations in meaningful, integrated ways" and "a need to understand and make reasonable the experiential world" . Higher NFC is associated with increased appreciation of debate, idea evaluation, and problem solving.
INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES -- CREATIVE POTENTIAL -- SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES
Subject exhibits a highly-developed verbal fluency, an unusual capacity to bring together remote associations, and the ability to extend effort in idea production (ideational fluency). Guilford, J.P. The Nature of Intelligence (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967); Mednick, S.A. "The Associative Basis of the Creative Process." Psychological Review 69: 220-232 (1962); Parnes, S.J. "Research on Developing Creative Behavior." In: Widening Horizons in Creativity. Edited by C.W. Taylor. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1964).
Subject's intellectual abilities are so highly-developed that they have been mistaken, even by psychiatrists, as psychotic symptoms in the form of pressured, rapid speech; flight of ideas; and loose associations. See Psychiatric Assessment Chart (Napoleon Cuenco, M.D., St. Elizabeths Hospital Residency Training Program), George Washington University Department of Psychiatry (September 1992) (Daniel Tsao, M.D., Attending Physician).