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The Psychology of Superheroes

balls in my mouth

Quinn McFee

on 27 August 2010

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Transcript of The Psychology of Superheroes

Psychology Of Super Heroes Quinn McFee The Postive Psychology of Superheroes- Positive Psychology

This essay stresses that one of the Greatest strengths of the super hero is their Positive Attitude in all situations Including peter Parker Superman and many more. The author explains to the reader how positive psychology is much more clinically effective because it focuses on the positive aspects of ones personality much like we focus on the positive characteristics of the hero.
The social Psychology of the Justice League of America- Group Psychology

This essay shows the reader that the Justice league is by far the most effective superhero force ever created. This is because of their amazing group work. Goodfriend explains to us the importance of the group and what makes a good group.
Superman’s Personality- Nature and Nurture (temperament)

What guide’s superman’s personality? Is it his innate superhuman power? Or on the other hand is it the guidance and good moral’s instilled in superman by his foster parents. Rosenberg argues Nurture over nature through the different works of superman. Superman-The Red Son was a hypothetical comic written on the premise that superman’s meteor ship crash landed in Soviet Russia. Through this it is easy to see how ones upbringing overrides intrinsic qualities.
Anti Heroism In the Continuum of Good and Evil- Gray Area between Good and evil ambiguity of sadism and heroism

Superheroes and villains aren’t all black and white. There are sympathetic villains as well as sadistic heroes, even anti heroes, a direct in-between of good and evil, the gray area that fills the gap in the spectrum (Frank Castle, Wolverine). This essay identifies and analyzes the personalities of the more complex heroes and villains
Psychology of Peter Parker- Positive Pschology and Stress Coping

This section defines the Strengths in Peter Parker’s character. Leaving the possibilities of a simple romantic relationship and Promising career as a physicist, Parker takes up the enormous responsibility of protecting the city from evil and disaster. How does spiderman handle the constant struggle between two lives and attacks on his own life? Peter has an amazingly hopeful and positive personality. It is through this that the young man can handle this stressful life.
Prejudice Lessons From the Exavier Institue- Psychology of Prejudice and Authoritarian Personality

This essay parallels the prejudice towards mutants with the civil rights movement. In this way Xavier is viewed as a Martin Luther King Jr.. He leads his Xmen with the philosophy that mutants must use their power to serve and cooperate with their human brothers. Xavier’s long time friend and enemy Magneto acts as Malcom X, showing his Brotherhood that the humans are inferior and should be destroyed if unable to submit to the power of the mutants.
When I grow up I want to be a Superhero- Career Development

Most Super humans become most Superheroes simply because of their supertraits. This is a simple explanation but it also applies to any of our own career choices; Chef Physicist Artist, Musician- these are all careers that require traits that people develop. It is obvious that people who possess these traits will most likely take on their respective occupations. Many feel that Superheroes have the greatest and most important of jobs, protecting the common good; However, Dik shows us that we too are superheroes when we realize the importance of our jobs in sustaining the common good.
Is there a Superhero in all of us?- Morality

This essay addresses the possibility of the superhero. Man could and can become super through innovations and technology. However, once man becomes superman where does that leave our morality. If you were an unstoppable juggernaut you would not need such burdens. Morality is a human trait. When one becomes more than human is this concept lost? Even if we can maintain our morality and be super morality is an impossible feat. As superman who do you save? With millions of people in danger every day, how can you decide who deserves to live more than another?
Mind-Reading Superheroes- Everyday mind reading (behavioral studies)

Many super heroes have the ability to read peoples minds. Ickes debunks Fact and fiction in mind reading in the real world. We all know ESP is relatively a fraud known as cold reading. However, Ickes explains that essesntially the human race has reasonable good mind reading abilities. Reading body language, humans can be up to 60% accurate in determining someone else’s feelings. This everyday superpower goes unnoticed.
An appetite for destruction- Agression

Batman is recognized overall as the hero of Gotham. However, lined up with superman, the Batman’s style is of unnecessary violence. Batman’s hostile aggression is diagnosed by the apparent pleasure in the violence in which batman engages.
The Stereotypical (wonder) Woman- Gender Roles

Wonder Woman is somewhat of an Amazonian all woman planet where there are submissive house wives, rearing their children, and aggressive poicewomen, keeping peace. Tate relates the story of Women throughout time, explaining that over time most women have gone from primary warriors to forming themselves in society’s definition and role of the woman.
What would Freud Say?- Psychopathology

Getzfeld discusses the possible psychopath and anti hero Frank castle. With the slaughtering of all family members Frank has been on a vengeance streak against all those who do evil. Getzfeld writes about the hypothetical diagnosis and treatment of the Punisher.
Coming To Terms with Bizarro-Schismogenesis

In this essay Naficy Discusses superman’s need for Bizarro under the premise of schismogenesis. Bringing us to tribal observations , Nacify shows us that in social constructs behaviors are mirrored in opposite in order to maintain balance in a system. In this way Bizarro provides release for Superman’s constant goody-ness.
Coping with stress the Superhero way- Stress

This essay addresses the enormous amounts of stress put on superheroes who take on the responsibility of protecting the world. However we experience the same amount of stress in the real world. Using superheroes, deLuse has broken down solutions to stress into three strategies, Problem Focused Coping, Emotion Focused Coping, and Proactive coping.
Arkham Asylum- Legal Insanity diagnosis

Daniels discusses the infamous Arkham Asylum. In this essay the insane asylum’s origins are described and Arkham is compared to actual institutions. The main focus is on the process unlikely possibility of being recognized as criminally insane. Many of Batman’s enemies end up in the insane asylum but the truth is it is almost impossible to being accused as criminally insane.
The Incredible Hulk- Anger/Rage

Patrick explores the origins of Bruce Banner’s anger, breaking down the rage and aggression as well as determining factors contributing to Bruce’s anger. Patrick looks to Banner’s bloody past as well as genetic traits of his father to help better explain the Hulk’s alter ego.
Gender Typicality and Extremity in Popular Culture- Gender Stereotypes

Johnson uses the Incredibles to examine superpowers and gender identity. The essay shows the reader that super heroes tend to be exaggerated versions of their gender. Both in character traits and physical appearance, the superhero sex role is “bumped up.”

Cracking the Superhero’s Moral Code- Morality

This essay addresses the complex decisions super heroes must make and live with for the rest of their lives. They must decide to protect/save an immediate life or take a moral high ground and do what must be done to achieve a greater good. This essay also discusses the difference of the superhero who acts on his/her own moral guidelines and war heroes who do what is needed in benefit of their country.
Benefits Of a Group In most Cases
Group work is extremely
inefficient when compared
to combined individual work
Due too... SOCIAL LOAFING Group members feel a diffusion of responsibility
In which they ask themelves "Why do I have to do it?"
"Why Can't Someone Else do it?" Group members also have trouble sharing
information, thinking that another member is
already aware of such info or that said information
is irrelevant when it actually is. JLA FTW! Takes Individual Responsibility in all tasks
Everyone has unique abilities so everyone feels they have as specific role in all missions
Information concerning a mission is ALWAYS shared with everyone in the group during a briefing before each mission MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVELEGES Studies have shown that the
exclusivity or brutal initiation
into a group
directly effects the members'
perception of said group Members will value and be more loyal to a group if it is very difficult to get in to The Justice league formed out of
necessity and through the concept
of teamwork in order to triumh over
monsters of the Apellax planet.

The league rarely admits additional
members making members of the
league value the league ad their part in it NOT ALL GROUPS ARE CREATED EQUAL In many other groups, including superhero teams
like the Xmen, The Brotherhood, and the Fantastic 4,
There is one leader who holds the most sway over the
rest of the members Human Motivations:
1. To be recognized and respected
as a unique person
2. To Be Loved and Accepted as
part of a group CONTRADICTION? Solution: Optimal Distinctiveness Satifies both needs be
becoming part of a smaller
elite group JLA changes the leader of the group for each mission so no one is felt subservient to the other. Also everyone has different uniforms adding to their uniqueness REACTION Optimal Distinctiveness makes alot of sense, especially in the context of superheroes. Humans are constantly looking to gain respect from others for their unique talents but wish to represent these talents in a group like a band [except if you're the bass player (just kidding..)] The construction of the
JLA is really a lot
like how democracy works. Overall Reaction This compilation of essays was extremely interesting. It's funny that so many Doctors in Psychology are so interested in the analyzation of fictional characters, however it is extremely entertaining. With that said one of the most interesting things about this book is that the writing of these superheroes is close enough to human behavior that they can be analyzed as real people. I have learned many new terms and concepts that have given me a taste of all different sects of psychology Everyday people often envy superheroes for their ability to easily figure out what career is right for them Like people, superheroes decide what career is right for them given their unique qualities and characteristics.

Superpowers=Super hero ALL ABOUT FIT: CAREER CHOICE Person Environment Fit The Idea that people are unique in interests abilities and other personal traits. The same case applies to jobs. In this way a person environment fit connects similarities between the aspects of a job and the person What if Parker killed the
spider never becoming
a superhero? The human traits that define him would apply to what job would best fit him These traits can be accurately measured through psychological tests ADAPTING TO CHANGE As Bruce Wayne Got more aged
and tempered he could no longer be
The Batman. However Bruce could
not adapt to this change, eventually
returning "with a vengeance." In western culture the career path of most individuals progresses in specific stages: 1. Growth: Individual thinks about future career possibilities and takes action towards desired career 2. Exploration: In adolescence individual explores different possibilities before they make a final decision 3. Establishment: Individual seeks recognition in their field 4. Management: Seeking to sustain established position through innovation and adaptation 5. Disengagement: Individual plans for retirement The Batman Adapts to his old age and the challenges he faces being batmant much like someone would in the fourth career stage Superhero's Calling Superheroes are only paid in the gratitude of the people. Why do they do it? Superheroes feel a sense of calling in what they do. Like the world depends on their occupation. This Calling has 3 Dimensions: Transcendant summons: the feeling that your career is some sort of god given aspiration Connection between their occupation and a broader sense of meaning. Other values and motivations
for doing what you do.
(exciting, a passion etc) Through this reasoning we can all feel
like superheroes whether a doctor or
garbage man we are making the world
a better place for everyone. Calling philosophy= Better Work performance REACTION This essay makes a very good point. When we work as though we are changing the world, like we are making a differece, like our work has meaning, it is much more satisfying. Now it makes more sense when spiderman does what he does and ends up in a sub par appartment. STRESS! Stress is a relative idea. What's stressful to me may be easy for others. Good stress=eustress
helping you prepare for something new
Bad stress=distress
death of family member Stress exists to help body stand up to opposition

FIGHT OR FLIGHT- Primal response to take a
problem head on or run DISCLAIMER: STRESS IS ALL ABOOT
HOW YOU PERCEIVE THE SITUATION COPING WITH STRESS It is true that character constitution
and personality will determine how
you will deal with stress to some extent. There are two characteristic abilities that help
one deal with stress: Dispositional Optimism:
The expectancy that
good things will
happen in ones life Locus of Control:
The amount of control you feel
when confronted with an obstacle.
External- things feel beyond your control
Internal- things feel withing your control Problem- Focused Coping Like silver bullets, you seek out
a specific devise or action to attack
a specific stressor Works with problems
that you have control over. EMOTIONAL FOCUSED COPING LIke invisible shields because only you know you are using this technique Useful for external
and internal problems Look at the problem in a more positive way. Sometimes you just need to shut down
for a while before directly dealing with a problem. Go into your batcave to recoop! Sometimes a mirror is
need to cope in
order to look at ourselves
and fight our demons. One of the most powerful emotional
coping tools
is to just let it go. Proactive Coping! Like the spidey sense because you aren't responding to a
You see it coming and act accordingly

EX maybe you know you're missisng school
for a college visit next week try to get the
work out of the way before hand IF you know an obstacle is approaching
get ready for it
to lessen the stress felt like SPIDEY! SOCIAL SUPPORT:A powerful
proactice devise can
be found in friends who can talk
you through upcoming stressors
and be your support system. Role Diversity- When we realize all of the roles we belong to-father, teacher, husband - it is easier to deal with the problems knowing your identiy is valued. DO NOT FOLLOW THE
EXAMPLE OF YOUNG CHILDREN Superheroes feel stress too
given there human lives.

Like superheroes we much slough
off unsupportive people in our
lives or leeches REACTION This was definitely the most useful essay
in the book. I really enjoy how many of these
essays are applicable and useful in my own life,
especially when its about stress! SUPERMAN'S DILEMMA KILL TO SAVE? Immanuel Kant coined "categorical
imperatives" which are things
that no matter what welfare gains
are immoral actions and should never
be committed Most people are very much like superman
in that they won't kill others for a greater good.
a survey concluded that 90% refuse to do so. Within-Vs. Between-Group Conflict WAR HERO CRIME FIGHTER For the war hero Morality plays little part. one does not need to think about internal conflicts because in war it is simply one side Vs the other and your enemy will not be easily persuaded to join your side. War heroes are known for kills not moral rectitude. The Crime Fighter lives across the street from his arch-nemisis. In this way the dividing lines between the heroes and villians is smudge and opaque, constantly changing. RISE OF CRIME FIGHTER These mythical figures arose through many theories. One is that myths reflect the minds of the people. There is no longer the feeling of constant war in society. Groups are no longer constantly worried about the threat of annihilation Social orginization has also evolved over the years, leading to morality as the deciding factor of a battle, through alliances and not brute force. Crime has also been on the rise
while war decreased significantly. This have all lead to a moralistic hero with
three main character traits: Third Party Judgment,
moralistic punishment, and moral impartiality. THIRD PARTY MORAL JUDGMENT Basically Superheroes are NOSY! The job of the Superhero is to pry into other peoples
Affairs in order to save lives.

Superheroes meddle in things that do not involve them
personally in any way. MORALISTIC PUNISHMENT (not revenge) Superheroes punish criminals for wrong doings
and nothing else. Batman, Daredevil and Frank Castle are semi exceptions
to this feature, but eventually each of them see the way
and practice moralistic punishment and steer away from
vengeance. (This is the reason for Secret identities) MORAL IMPARTIALTY A true moralist and superhero enforces the moral principles
without letting personal feelings get in the way and their emotions
take control of their actions leading to more violent outcomes. Criminals should be punished for their actions not killed. Batman VS Ra's al Ghul Magneto Vs Xavier 1:20 fin
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