Hawthorne was imbued with an inquiring imagination, an intensely meditative mind, and an unceasing interest in the ambiguity of man's being. He was an anatomist of "the interior of the heart," conscious of the loneliness of man in the universe, of the darkness that enshrouds all joy, and of the need of man to look into his own soul.
In both his novels and his short stories, Hawthorne wrote essentially as a moralist. He was interested in what happened in the minds and hearts of men and women when they knew they had done wrong. He focused his examination on the moral and psychological consequences that manifested themselves in human beings as a result of their vanity, their hatred, their egotism, their ambition, and their pride. He was intrigued by the way they felt and the way they acted when they knew they had done wrong.
In "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," Hawthorne illustrates several sides of his writing: his disenchanted view of human nature, his use of symbolism, and his interest in the supernatural. In addition, the story treats one of the new nineteenth-century ideas that concerned Hawthorne: scientific experiment. The story itself is a stimulating and rewarding study of right and wrong in human conduct.