Evolutionary psychologist David Buss once noted that Profet “seemed to possess a unique view of the world that included a paranoia consumed with invading pathogens and parasites,” recalls his former student Barry Kuhle, now a University of Scranton (Pa.) psychology professor. This paranoia may have fueled her genius. It may also explain her disappearance.
By the turn of the millennium, Profet was back in Cambridge taking math classes at Harvard. “We spoke on the phone about a math problem she was trying to solve and how she was having a lot of trouble concentrating,” says Deirdre Barrett, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. “She wasn’t in good shape.”
The author of The Committee of Sleep, Barrett—a dream researcher—had followed Profet’s career in part because Profet told the media that her menstruation theory had had its genesis in a dream. (Profet’s dream involved black triangles embedded in red. The triangles were pathogens, she interpreted, red blood washing them away.)
Mike Martin for Psychology Today.
[h/t to my newest follower: paraphyletic]