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SIOP ECC Interviews Hugo AKA "Hugo Munsterberg: SIOP's Tweet Laureate!"

Paul H. Thoresen, SIOP Electronic Communications Committee Chair, J. Drake Terry, SIOP Electronic Communications Committee Old Dominion University

In 2016 a new twitter account burst on the scene claiming to be Hugo Munsterberg unfrozen after a century. Although the account is a mainstay for I-O psychology practitioners on twitter, it is not without some controversy. This may be due to a somewhat irascible nature or maybe just maybe the occasional trolling. But the account continues to grow in popularity, Hugo was (potentially) at SIOP18, and might even get confused with Elf on the Shelf from time to time.  Whoever knows who is behind the account has kept quiet. Guesses range from Mike Zickar, to Craig Dawson, to a rebranded @IOpsychgossip. Whoever the voice of Hugo is, we had the opportunity to sit down (virtually) to ask a few questions.

The following interview ensued.

ECC: "Tell us Hugo, how can you still be alive?"

Hugo: It was all a misunderstanding. I did not die of a cerebral hemorrhage in December 1916 as I started my Saturday morning lecture to the women of Radcliffe. As it happens, it was simply a case of inadvertent narcolepsy. As I fell asleep, I hit my nose on the lectern on my way to the floor. Well, a number of the philosophy professors at the time, like me, were also medical doctors. Unfortunately for me, there's a reason they were working in the philosophy department and not at a medical school, and those shaky sawbones took one look and misdiagnosed me. One of them put me on ice in a faculty freezer in the basement and there I lay for the last one hundred years, alternately holding bags of shrimp for the yearly holiday parties or sherbet for the dean's summer gatherings.

A bumbling undergrad looking for the department head's basement beer stash in 2016 accidentally kicked out the wall plug and I thawed out—along with a Qdoba burrito and two Lean Cuisines. From what I understand, "suspended animation" techniques don't usually work out well. I attribute my success, however, to what I call my state of continual "suspended agitation"—I've been nursing some grudges since 1916 and it's time for the psychology world to receive my wrath!

ECC: Would you say you had job satisfaction back in your own working days?

Hugo: I was very satisfied with my job! I can't say that those who worked with me felt the same way, however.

ECC: It has been a while since we took a history of psychology class, but did not America come to “dislike” you before your untimely demise in 1916?

Hugo: Nonsense! I was the "Dr. Phil" of my time. Well, with a better moustache and a semblance of a conscience. Americans, as usual, were becoming suspicious of anyone who came from a country it was in conflict with, of course. Granted, it didn't help that in one of my books I compared the virtues of the German Kaiser with Teddy Roosevelt. But they really would have gotten along famously, I still believe.

ECC: What do you think of current trends i.e., Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, or “Big Data”?

Hugo: Whatever those things are that you just said—I invented them first! Under different names, of course. Unless they’re terrible, in which case someone subverted my genius.

ECC: What does your Big Five profile look like? Especially the Neuroticism scale . . . .

Hugo: My Big Five? I would say that I am above average on them all, even the Neuroticism scale--how else do you think I bested my competition?

ECC: How do we stamp out bad practices i.e., the use of the MBTI, learning styles, or bad team building?

Hugo: You act like there's a connection between #IOPsych and the real world! Ha! The sooner you relieve yourself of that burden, the happier you will be. The best of what we do accounts for so little of the variance that you needn't worry that some team building workshop somewhere is using the Myers-Briggs. I promise you that the only thing that will get hurt is your sense of self-importance. Just be happy they pay attention to you at all.

ECC: What are you most looking forward to at #SIOP19? And, are you going to do any sightseeing in DC?

Hugo: I look forward to once again donning my disguise in order to pass among you unnoticed: a middle-aged white male with facial hair and glasses wearing out of date clothing. Sightseeing? Who has time for sightseeing? I'll be too busy making fun of you all on Twitter!

ECC: Would you consider yourself a leader?

Hugo: Of course, I'm a leader! A magnificent leader! I'm such a strong leader, in fact, that even I would follow myself.

ECC: If you were President of SIOP, what would you try to change?

Hugo: I would make everyone bring their own folding chairs to the SIOP Conference. Last year, in Chicago, I could never find a place to sit. It was maddening! So, everyone must bring a folding chair with them from room to room. Most people don't realize that conference chair rental is the most expensive part of running a conference. We would save tens of thousands of dollars! I did something similar when I was APA president in 1898: I made everyone bring their own wooden spoon to our annual conference. With the savings I was able to add certain luxury features to our headquarters, like a ladies' bathroom. What can I say? It was 1898.

ECC: If you had unlimited funds for one research study, what would you do?

Hugo: "Big Brother: SIOP," of course. I would put together a house full of #IOPsych academics and let them battle it out in a series of competitions involving things like programming in R, debating the merits of meta-analysis, and hands-behind-your-back pie eating!

ECC: Tell us Hugo, what is your social media “strategy”?

Hugo: Well, there's two concepts that look out of place together!

ECC: Why are you so mean?

Hugo: I'm not mean, I just don't countenance fools. Don't consider my style to be meanness. Just think of me as...I don't know...perhaps a kind, old uncle whom you consistently disappoint with everything you say or do. There. That's better, don't you think?

ECC: What is your strange fascination with Lance Andrew(s)?

Hugo: Lance Andrew! That vile man is my bane! "To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!" Honestly, I don't remember. He tasks me, that man, that's all I know. Nevertheless, I wish him all the best!

ECC: Last but not least, where did you pick up your mad photoshopping skills?

Hugo: Just comes naturally, I suppose. What do you think of this design for our interview? My title suggestion is: "Hugo Munsterberg: SIOP's Tweet Laureate!" Not bad, eh?

P.S. Princess Diaries? Really? What is that all about?

 You have but to watch those movies in delight, Mein Herr, to understand their appeal! As I've said before, they are the Godfather I & II of Princess movies. I have eclectic tastes, I suppose, but what's not to love? Julie Andrews! Anne Hathaway! In truth, I had to take time to learn to adapt to 21st century culture so I immersed myself in a self-study course of my own devising that would get me quickly to the very heights of modern American thinking: Basic cable and a Netflix subscription.

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