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 the most conscientious or lackadaisy? Who are the extraverts, who's most agreeable, and who's most neurotic? Help rate the characters in order to find out together.

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?

Why Are We Writing More About a Suicide Than Ferguson Riots?

Why have psychologists said much more about one celebrity suicide than about a teenager's tragic death and the ensuing protests and riots? We knew Robin Williams in ways we never knew Michael Brown. Is our relatively greater response because of familiarity, race, complacency, information overload, or specificity of issues like suicide, depression, and Parkinson's disease?

Ferguson Protests, Riots, Power Abuse, and Not-So-Quiet Rage

Numerous professionals have shown restraint in covering Missouri's rioting crisis over an incident in which a police officer killed an unarmed young man. Some tweeting about Ferguson in social media have compared it to Milgram's obedience study, but wouldn't Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment teach us more about how authority roles can create and escalate conflict?

Healer, Teacher, Hero, Villain from Mork to the Angriest Man

Robin Williams played healers, teachers, heroes, and villains. Did he play so many doctors and educators because he wanted to heal and teach, because he yearned for healing and learning, or because we wanted him to help himself and others grow better? Because of his very humanity, because of how he conveyed his humor and his pain, he appealed to the misfit in us all.

Guidelines for Covering Suicide: How Many Have We Violated?

We have a lot to say about the death of Robin Williams, and for a lot of different reasons. In our need to express ourselves and to reach out to others who may need help, have we been careful in what we're doing? The World Health Organization has published a set of recommendations for anyone writing about suicide in general or specific (especially celebrity) cases.

End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture

Have you or someone you love been a target of bullying? How will media affect attitudes toward bullying and other cruelty? Authors and actors analyze a range of bullying behaviors as the Pop Culture Anti-Bullying Coalition delivers a powerful discussion on how to overcome bullying, including strategies to create witnesses and allies out of bystanders.

Police Suspect Suicide in Death of Comedian Robin Williams

Oscar-winning actor and comedian who rose to fame playing an alien outsider, has died in what police call an apparent suicide. Robin Williams, 63, who has suffered bouts of depression and drug abuse throughout his lifetime, recently entered a treatment program again. He had returned to television in The Crazy Ones, which CBS cancelled after a single season.

Stop Picking on People for Their "First World Problems"

Belittling people's concerns as "first world problems" is a trendy new form of bullying. Yes, there really are things much worse than waiting in line at the DMV or having your phone run out of power, but mocking people for speaking about those in hyperbole is unnecessary and mean, belittling people over survival mechanisms that might get misapplied in the modern world.

Brain and Body by Batman: Art and Science of the Dark Knight

Authors of "Becoming Batman" and "Batman and Psychology" join a fellow educator and a renowned Batman writer/editor in examining the physiology and psychology of nocturnal vigilantism: What motivations sustain Bruce Wayne? What would someone need to prepare for a career like Batman's? What would this career do to his psyche, his brain, his body? How realistic is Batman?

Interview with Kevin Sorbo on Making a World Fit for Kids

Actor Kevin Sorbo tells us about heroism, role models, and education. Star of hit TV programs Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Sorbo redefined how he measured success in life after several strokes left him partially blind, as recounted in his book True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life.

Pages