CRITQUE ON A BOOK CALLED:
“THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUPERHEROES: AN UNAUTHORISED EXPLORATION” BY Robin S. Rosenberg
About the The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration
In The Psychology of Superheroes, almost two dozen psychologists get into the heads of today’s most popular and intriguing superheroes. Why do superheroes choose to be superheroes? Where does Spider-Man’s altruism come from, and what does it mean? Why is there so much prejudice against the X-Men, and how could they have responded to it, other than the way they did? Why are super-villains so aggressive? The Psychology of Superheroes answers these questions, exploring the inner workings our heroes, usually only shared with their therapists.
Unmasking superhuman abilities and double lives, this analysis showcases nearly two dozen psychologists as their essays explore the minds of pop culture’s most intriguing and daring superheroes, including Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, and the X-Men. Exposing the inner thoughts that these reclusive heroes would only dare share with trained professionals, heady experts give detailed psychoanalyses of what makes specific superheroes tick while answering such questions as Why do superheroes choose to be superheroes? Why is there so much prejudice against the X-Men mutants? What makes Spider-Man so altruistic? and Why are super villains so aggressive? Additionally, the essays tackle why superheroes have such an enduring effect on American culture.
Wings is a cruel and gripping tale that shows how compassion is made more startling and significant when it is highlighted against such an existence of cruelty, abuse, and horrors. There are many symbols present in, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. Wings are symbolic of unchecked freedom of motion and Angels and yet he chooses to stay with the family as an act of compassion to change their ...
“The Psychology of Superheroes” by Robin S. Rosenberg (editor) is an outstanding collection of eighteen essays about the insights we can gain in human psychology by studying the behaviour of comic book superheroes. Almost all of the authors are college professors or doctoral candidates in psychology who expertly blend their professional knowledge with their love of comics. The result is a clever, witty and intriguing book that should appeal to anyone interested in psychology or pop culture.
Several authors dedicate their essays to studying how individual superheroes fit or deviate from standard psychological models and practices. For example, Christopher Patrick and Sarah Patrick contend that the Incredible Hulk suffers from a textbook example of reactive aggression triggered by the extreme physical and emotional maltreatment he suffered as a youth. Robert Biswas-Diener finds that the Spider-Man alter ego allows Peter Parker to gain encouragement through performance and an increase in personal happiness in general accordance with positive psychology theory. On the other hand, Bradley Daniels informs us that the insanity plea seems to be used far more frequently in the comics than in real life; and thankfully, no real world mental institution exists that is as easily escapable as Gotham’s notorious Arkham Asylum.
The moral behaviour of superheroes is discussed in several pieces. Famous professors like Peter DeScioli and Robert Kurzban compare and contrast the absolutist ethics of Superman with the more complex utilitarian ethics of Batman, who nonetheless retains a consistent sense of purpose to ensure socially just outcomes. In the very same essay, Andrew Getzfeld suggests that The Punisher’s moral outrage over the murder of Bruce Wayne (Batman) family compels him to engage in an extreme form of vigilantism that, unfortunately, would probably remain intractable even if he was afforded the benefit of intensive clinical treatment.
Imagine that old Spiderman comic book coming to life and blowing you away. This movie was incredible. The graphics, the acting, the plot... EVERYTHING was perfectly laid out by director, Sam Raimi. I couldn't have cast the movie any better myself. Everything flowed together in the classic superhero vs.villain showdown. I have been waiting for this movie since I first started reading Spiderman ...
Other articles shed light on the psychology of groups, institutions and society. Professor Mikhail Lyubansky shows how the X-Men embody the ideology of tolerance and diversity within the walls of the Xavier Institute but is unfairly blamed for their enviable talents by human society. Chuck Tate studies the history of Wonder Woman to discuss how changing societal attitudes towards women has made the struggle to depict a strong, independent woman to remain a highly problematic task.
These are just a few of the many remarkable essays contained in this fun, intelligent book. And I highly recommend to everyone, atleast to peoples who want to go beyond comics. I read comics till my 10th grade and after that I switched to more multimedia sources but still my liking for superheroes has never ended. And still when I read this book here in college I wanted to share this with everyone and I guess I got the chance.
THE POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUPERHEROES
Do superheroes live positive psychology’s vision of a “good life”? Are superheroes happy? And if they’re not happy, why should we want to be like them? In their essay, Peterson and Park examine whether superheroes have lives “well lived”. Peterson and Park focus on the superhero’s morality makes him or her different from the villains. Peterson and Park also discuss the ways in which a superhero’s character is not like that of us humans – through connections with other people.
If comics books can be examined from the vantage of literature, cultural history, and philosophy, then they can also be looked at in terms of psychology. A psychological interpretation of comic books can provide the framework for understanding the characters as well as the readers.
Are comics an additional natural home for positive psychology? Never mind that the superheroes who live there are fictional. Our heroes and heroines have always resided in stories, from “Shakti man” to the “Harry Potter” saga. Those who attempt to teach about good character invariably use stories to make their points. The stories maybe real, apocryphal or mythic. But we do not think it makes much difference if the point is to provide us with examples of a life well-lived.
Positive Psychology Introduction: Positive Psychology and its Main Prerequisites In the mid-twentieth century the theory of self-actualization was developed in the U.S. It became the key element of the humanistic psychology. At the time, humanistic psychology proclaimed itself as the third branch of psychology, opposed to behaviorism and psychoanalysis. By that time the U.S. won World War II and ...
Positive psychology has several topics of central concern:
(a) Positive subjective experiences ( pleasure and happiness),
(b) Positive traits (values, talents, and good character)
(c) Rewarding social relationships (friendship and love)
(d) Places that enable optimal thinking ( the natural homes)
According to positive psychology, the good life results when these factors align themselves. In these essays, authors have examined comic book superheroes in terms of these concerns and assess whether superheroes are also “super” people in terms of positive psychology’s vision of the good life.
On the cover of The Psychology of Superheroes a Rorschach-type bat-signal lights up the night of a comic-book sky. It’s an apt image for a book that calls on a wide array of superheroes and psychological theories to forge a link between the two separate domains. I think sagas of superheroes bring us out of ourselves and connect us with something larger than ourselves, something more universal, and that as a psychology student, I have noticed the ways in which their stories reflect psychological theories and research findings. For example all superheroes lead a dual personality life.
Certainly there are limits to this enthusiasm, and for the most part the essays in this volume gush less about cool heroes and awesome villains and focus mainly on the respective theories being applied. One of my favourite essays was Robert Biswas-Diener, “Positive Psychology of Peter Parker”. In it, he applies his knowledge both of Spiderman and positive psychology to put forward some surprisingly helpful examples of humour, skills and well-grounded hope in the face of adversities.
Term split personality is used to define the dissociative identity which one faces in psychiatric diagnosis. And this is the part which every superhero has. They live in a society of so called normal human beings, which they are not, and try to mix up in to the society in on phase of personality and in second phase they mask themselves to a superhero and turns their identity into something that is not common in society and people sees them as their mask itself. Now this split personality goes to such extent that a superhero himself starts differentiating in between both of his personality. The one which he hates, dislike, underestimate and feel powerless and the one which he feels normal with, which he believes and sees as true identity, one in which he feels confident and respected. He started to feel his own face as a mask and his mask as his own face. Mask becomes his identity. This characteristic personality of a superhero is well explained by Jung’s collective unconscious theory. In Jung’s theory, Batman and the Joker represent the archetypes, or universally recognizable symbols, of good and evil, respectively. To Jung, archetypes play an important role in determining our day-to-day reactions, attitudes, and values. For example, Jung might explain the popularity of the Star Wars movies as being due to their use of broad archetypes of good (Luke Skywalker) and evil (Darth Vader ).
INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION: Stereotyping Describe and evaluate the psychological explanations and research evidence concerning social perception. Interpersonal perception fits under the umbrella of social perception and is basically our general perception of others. It can be defined as the study of how the layperson [or amateur psychologist! ], uses theory and data in understanding people, (Judy Ga ...
All in all, despite some essays that failed to click with me, I would recommend The Psychology of Superheroes as an interesting read for comic fans and psychology buffs alike.