Scientific Reasons Fans Still Hate Star Wars' Jar Jar Binks

Dr. John Paul Garrison pulls lessons from empirical science to discuss why people continue to express such irritation toward Star Wars prequel character Jar Jar Binks.

Star Wars Psychology: How Does a Stormtrooper Learn to Hug?

Raised since infancy to obey orders, one soldier refuses to take part in a massacre. Why does he then readily kill other stormtroopers, and when did he learn to greet with a hug?

#ThisPsychMajor Answers Candidate's Claim We Work Fast Food

After presidential candidate Jeb Bush said universities need to caution students who choose "that psych major deal" that "you’re going to be working a Chick-fil-A," psychology majors took to social media (especially Twitter) in reaction. The #ThisPsychMajor responses keep coming. The message: Do not belittle degrees in liberal arts or employment in service occupations.

Presidential Candidate Says Psych Degree Means Fast Food Job

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush belittled psychology degrees, saying universities need to warn prospective psychology students that they'll wind up working fast food jobs. Online, people respond with facts, figures, and a lot of information about what they themselves are doing with their psychology degrees. #ThisPsychMajor

The Walking Dead: The Further Confessions of Father Gabriel

On AMC's The Walking Dead, Father Gabriel Stokes lets zombies kill the members of his congregation, then projects his feelings about his own cowardice and untrustworthiness onto the program's main characters. After becoming progressively more self-destructive, attempting suicide by walker and provoking someone else, he sees he projected his own worst qualities onto others.

The Hero Round Table With Phil Zimbardo: Prepare for Heroism

At the Hero Round Table conference, Dr. Phil Zimbardo explains how to become heroic. How does a person prepare for heroism? Heroism, according to Zimbardo, is positive deviance. What distinguishes the reactive hero from the reflective hero? How do bystanders stop standing by? And what does wearing orange pants have to do with standing up, speaking, out, and taking action?

Grief Out Of Order: Apocalyptic Loss and "The Walking Dead"

"The Walking Dead" demonstrates how stages of grief follow no universal order. Before we discover how new characters on "Fear the Walking Dead" respond to the zombie apocalyse, look back at how one of the original program's characters faced loss and bereavement. What do these reactions mean for ongoing survival in a complicated world? What might Kübler-Ross say?

Psych Write: Psychology Can Make Sense and Be Fun to Read!

Authors trying to write about psychology for general audiences may err by writing the same way they would write journal articles, or they may err by writing too casually. These tips can help students, psych pros, journalists, bloggers, and water cooler conversationalists achieve the right balance while clearly talking about psychology. Jargon is good. Really, it is.

"Inside Out": Emotional Truths by Way of Pixar

Pixar's "Inside Out" proves to be impressivley accurate to cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychology. Five of the six scientifically validated universal emotions demonstrate what it might be like in the mind of an 11-year-old girl who struggles with having to move away from her friends and to a different city. The film sends a message and has therapeutic value.

Superhero Therapy: Fears Do Not Make Heroes Any Less Heroic

Superhero Therapy star Dr. Janina Scarlet looks at heroes who feel fear. Storm of the X-Men often experiences crippling episodes of claustrophobia. As boy, Bruce Wayne becomes afraid of bats. Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter stories endures crushing arachnophobia. How do these heroes cope with their own fears and find the courage to do the right thing nevertheless?

All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism

In an exclusive interview, authors Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer discuss their acclaimed book, "All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism." Not just any children's book, it includes a reading guide about the challenges and strengths of individuals on the autism spectrum, along with tips and support information for parents and caregivers.

An OCEAN Far Away: Big 5 Personality Factors in Star Wars

Which Star Wars characters characters are the most open to experience while others are set in their ways? Who's conscientious, agreeable, or outgoing? And who's the most neurotic?

The Flash and the Nonexistent Standard DID Med Mix

The CW's television series "The Flash" has featured a recurring character called Firestorm the "Nuclear Man" who is two different people merged together into one body. To treat the chaos in this mix of men, scientists give him a mix of medications that is supposedly standard treatment for dissociative identity disorder. No such standard exists.

The Walking Dead Psychology: A Cannibal Conversation

Actor Andrew J. West discusses playing Gareth from Terminus on The Walking Dead. Why does severe crisis bring out the best in some people and worst in others? Who rises to heroism and who descends into villainy? What does it take to turn to cannibalism? West examines what it takes to break a normal human being who would never previously considered munching on a man's leg.

Project Superhero: Superheroes for All Ages

Professor, author, and martial artist E. Paul Zehr explores real science through the lens afforded by fictional superheroes such as Iron Man, Batman, and Batgirl. In "Project Superhero," he combines fiction and nonfiction, including interviews with real people, to explore how superheroes can inspire a younger age group to reach their potential and discover who they can be.

Geek Psych Library From Mad Men Reality to Twilight Fantasy

Books on the psychology of popular culture look at psychology through the lens of specific films, television programs, comic book series, and other entertainment material. Readers likely look at these books the other way around by using psychology to look at Batman, Harry Potter, Dexter, Criminal Minds, The Sopranos, The Simpsons, and more.

Fear Lessons in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Doctor Who

For Halloween, guest writer Dr. Janina Scarlet looks at what Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Lord of the Rings teach us about fear. What can these fantastic examples reveal about how nonfictional human beings suffer or cope with fears and anxieties?

Who Dies to Fight Ebola? Who Kills in Fear of It?

In the milieu of the deadliest ebola outbreak on record, health workers and others risk their lives to fight the spread of this disease. They face danger not only from the destructive virus but from the very people they aim to help, villagers too terrified to welcome wandering strangers. How can any of us know if we'd be the ones who'd die or kill to fight it?

Doctor Who: "Listen" to Your Fear

BBC's time traveling hero turns proactive to root out his own childhood fear. A frightening "Doctor Who" episode about fright literally and figuratively explores how fear feeds itself, and turns that around to stress the value of fear and its function in the fight-or-flight response. If fear itself is not truly a thing to fear, fear instead may be your fuel.

Serpents in a Happy Valley: Does the World Need Villains?

"The world needs villains so there can be heroes," claims Netflix promotion for the BBC show "Happy Valley." Can that be true? Does the world really need villainy or can heroism exist apart from it? From a storytelling standpoint, a villain has value, but not all emergencies in everyday life arise from evil intent. Are we so ready to take evil among people for granted?

A Visit to the Rape Room: Who Sees Humor in Sexual Assault?

Who sees humor in sexual assault? Rape jokes take a variety of forms, generated by a greater variety of intentions. Should those individuals who jest about sexual violence learn greater sensitivity or should others who object to such jokes lighten up? What has empirical research shown us about how, why, and when people will make light of sex crimes? Who makes these jokes?

Are We Blaming the Famous Victims of Nude Photo Theft?

Should 101 celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence have "known better"? When a hacker steals their private, encrypted photos and distributes them online, fault should be easy to assign. The victims did nothing wrong here, so why do people even discuss this issue of blame? Is hindsight bias at work in this manifestation of the just-world phenomenon, or is schadenfreude afoot?

Doctor Who and the Neuroscience of Morality Malfunctions

Has the Doctor misplaced one of his hearts? The latest version of the lead character on "Doctor Who" seems short on empathy and he worries whether regeneration skewed his morality when it completely altered his body. Both neural manipulation and traumatic brain injury can alter real people's empathic and moral capabilities in terms of cognition, emotion, and compassion.

Murder by Meme: Slender Man and the Wakefield Anti-Vax Hoax

Like scary Slender Man, viral views over a vaccine-autism link spread from a single human's fiction. After Eric Knudsen created the Slender Man in a photo editing challenge, its myth spread as meme, a malleable open-source horror that inspired a murder attempt. After Andrew Wakefield falsified a vaccine-autism link, it panicked many into campaigning against vaccination.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier–Who Is Bucky?

In "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014), amnesia-ridden James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes has been brainwashed into carrying out assassinations as the Winter Soldier. Does that make him a villain or a misguided hero? Exactly how might we diagnose an individual suffering his particular form of fugue, and is there really any hope for one who has wrought so much wrong?

MythBusters' Kari, Grant, and Tory Leave a Myth Unfinished

MythBusters' build team leaves the Discovery Channel series after more years than most TV shows last. Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tori Belleci depart, having tested only half of the Yerkes-Dodson arousal/performance curve. Having slapped some sense into understimulated, underaroused team members, they have not also slapped them silly when overstimulated and overaroused.

JL8 Controversy: Is Sharing Phallic Photos Healthy Behavior?

When a children's webcomic artist sends others sexually explicit photos of his own anatomy, is that simply some sexting as part of 21st century life, or is he engaging in sexual harassment or other aggression? How can outsiders judge whether he is a charitable hero or a predatory villain? Who should speak out about this? Is there ever such a thing as a safe sext?

Doctor Who: Regeneration and a Dilemma of Doctor Identities

The BBC TV series "Doctor Who" has lasted 50 years. Its new season stars Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor - same Time Lord, different face. When the program's hero regenerates into a new form (played by a new actor), how does that change affect his personality and self-concept? How do any real world human experiences relate to this science fiction character revision?

Scarlett Johansson Film Lucy Pushes 10 Percent Brain Myth

The plot for Luc Besson's science fiction action thriller "Lucy" starring Scarlett Johansson with Morgan Freeman hangs on the myth we only use 10 percent of our brains. As the heroine's brain usage reaches 90 percent, she gains skills and psychic superpowers. A long line of neuroscience evidence contradicts this old and enduring myth about brain under-usage in every way.

Star Trek vs. Star Wars: A Look at Bullying on Any World

Psychologists and actors compare depictions of bullying in Star Wars and Star Trek science fiction franchises. Children are not the only ones who might find themselves mocked, insulted over nerdy interests or anything else they enjoy as others try to suck the fun out of their lives. Can fantastic fiction empower us and teach lessons on responding to bullies in real life?