Yacov Rofé is a professor of psychology and former chair of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. He taught for the Department of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and was a visiting professor at Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey.
He has published influential articles in leading journals, including an article entitled "Utility Theory: Stress and Affiliation", which was published in the prestigious journal, Psychological Review (1984). Soon after receiving tenure, while being fully aware that he would most likely be wasting many years of work in vain, he began to develop a new theory of psychopathology, termed Psycho-Bizarreness Theory (PBT) (Rofé, 1989, 2000), which proved its ability to integrate research and clinical data of rival theories, and thus, resolve the endless controversy in this area.
Although some researchers were unhappy with the original name (e.g., Lester, 2002), he insisted on its preservation, as it continues Freud's theoretical assumption that a necessary condition for the understanding of behavioral deviations is to make a sharp distinction between bizarre and non-bizarre behaviors (see Searle, 1992; Shevrin & Dickman, 1980; Woody, 2003). Nevertheless, in order to convey the essence of the theory that bizarre behaviors are rational coping mechanisms which individuals may intuitively choose when confronted with an intolerable level of stress, the theory was also named as The Rational-Choice Theory of Neuroses (Rofé, 2010, 2016; Rofé & Rofé, 2013, 2015).
PBT demonstrated its superiority, as opposed to traditional theories of psychopathology, in four articles, where it: 1) Succeeded to integrate all therapeutic methods pertaining to neurosis into one theoretical framework (Rofé, 2010); 2) Explain all data relevant to the development and treatment of conversion disorder (Rofé & Rofé, 2013); 3) Resolve the theoretical confusion regarding the explanation of panic disorder, agoraphobia and other forms of bizarre phobias (e.g., chocolate phobia) (Rofé, 2015); and 4) Provide empirical criteria for the diagnosis of neurosis and thereby demonstrate the superiority of PBT's diagnostic approach over the DSM (Rofé, 2016).
In a recent book, entitled, Schizophrenia, Criminal Insanity & Neuroses, Psycho-Bizarreness: The Intuitive Rational-Choice Theory of Madness, Rofé (2017), challenged the validity of the medical models. The book demonstrates that the biological models reached their esteemed scientific status, especially with regard to the explanation and treatment of schizophrenia, not because of the strength of their data but rather because of the weaknesses of the psychological theories. PBT, in line with Freud's vision, succeeds in explaining the development of various types of bizarre behaviors, such as schizophrenia, criminal insanity and neuroses, by one set of theoretical concepts.
PBT received relatively positive reviews in both Contemporary Psychology (Lester, 2002) and Psychiatrist Services (Sarma & Garfield, 2001). It also gained a wide-spread interest from the Israeli media (see In the Media), including television programs, radio, and leading newspapers. Three distinguished researchers, including the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Professor Robert Aumann (2016), strongly support this theory. Prof. Aumann noted that
“Rofe’s theory, revolutionary as it sounds, fits well into the framework of economics, game theory, and evolution”
-Professor Robert Aumann, Nobel Prize Winner
Rofe's theory fits in very well with the concept of rationality as understood in economics, where a person's behavior is considered 'rational' if it under his circumstances, it advances his goals. In turn, this is well rooted in evolutionary theory; when the doctrine of 'survival of the fittest', the behavior of organisms has evolved in order to serve the organism's interests. Thus, Rofe's theory, revolutionary as it sounds, fit well into the frameworks of economics, game theory and evolution.