Déformation professionnelle

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Déformation professionnelle (French: [defɔʁmasjɔ̃ pʁɔfɛsjɔnɛl], professional deformation or job conditioning) is a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one's own profession or special expertise, rather than from a broader or humane perspective. It is often translated as "professional deformation", though French déformation can also be translated as "distortion". The implication is that professional training, and its related socialization, often result in a distortion of the way one views the world.[1] The Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel has observed that "[e]very specialist, owing to a well-known professional bias, believes that he understands the entire human being, while in reality he only grasps a tiny part of him."[2]


"Déformation professionnelle" was used in 19th-century medicine to describe a bodily deformity caused by one's occupation.[3][4]

As a term in psychology, it was likely introduced by the Belgian sociologist Daniel Warnotte [de],[5] or the Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin.[citation needed]

The colloquial term nerdview describes a similar tendency.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Julia Bönisch, "Déformation professionnelle: Beruflich bedingte Missbildung" Süddeutsche Zeitung (November 30, 2007). Retrieved March 5, 2011 (in German)
  2. ^ Carrel, Alexis (1939). "Chapter 2" (PDF). Man, The Unknown. New York: Harper & Brothers. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  3. ^ Morel-Lavallée, "Sur une fausse 'dent d'Hutchinson'; déformation professionnelle chez un cordonnier" 'On a false Hutchinson's tooth: occupational deformity in a shoemaker' Annales de Dermatologie et de Syphiligraphie 8:5:339 (1887)
  4. ^ Jeanselme, M.E. (30 July 1897). "Syndrome de Morvan: Syringo-myélie et lèpre". Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société Médicale des Hôpitaux de Paris. 14 (3ème série): 1104-1128 (1124) – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Merton, Robert K. (1957). Social Theory and Social Structure. Glencoe, IL: Free Press. p. 198. Archived from the original on 2012-12-27. The transition to a study of the negative aspects of bureaucracy is afforded by the application of Veblen's concept of 'trained incapacity', Dewey's notion of 'occupational psychosis' or Warnotte's view of 'professional deformation'.
  6. ^ Geoffrey K. Pullum (26 Jun 2008). "Language Log – Nerdview". Retrieved 27 Jun 2020.

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