The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead

The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead


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The characters of The Walking Dead live in a desolate postapocalyptic world, filled with relentless violence and death. In reality, how would such never-ending trauma affect the psyche? By understanding the psychological forces that drive the show's action, fans can better grasp this compelling fictional universe. Is the Governor a psychopath, a sociopath, or neither? What does Terror Management Theory tell us about what it means to constantly fight for survival—as Rick must? What is the emotional cost of killing a walker or even another living person? What is groupthink and how does it affect the decisions made by the people of Terminus, Woodbury, and Rick’s gang? In 19 essays from a range of esteemed contributors, a foreword by John Russo, cocreator of Night of the Living Dead, plus "Case Files" sidebars by editor Travis Langley, The Walking Dead Psychology answers these and many other questions in a way sure to fascinate the show's millions of passionate viewers.

Contributors include:
John Blanchar * Megan Blink * Colt J. Blunt * Josué Cardona * Adam Davis * William Blake Erickson * Frank Gaskill * Jennifer Golbeck * Jonathan Hetterly * Katrina Hill * Alan Kistler * Dana Klisanin * Stephen Kuniak * Martin Lloyd * Stephanie Norman * Patrick O’Connor * Katherine Ramsland * Clay Routledge * Billy San Juan * Janina Scarlet * Steven Schlozman * Lara Taylor * Dave Verhaagen * Mara Wood * E. Paul Zehr *

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781454917052
Publisher: Sterling
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Series: Popular Culture Psychology Series , #1
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Travis Langley is a psychology professor at Henderson State University, the author of Batman and Psychology (Wiley), and the volume editor of The Walking Dead Psychology and Star Wars Psychology (both Sterling). He speaks regularly on media and heroism at universities, conferences, and popular culture conventions including San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, and Wizard World conventions throughout the world. Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics and other films have featured him as an expert interviewee, and the documentary Legends of the Knight spotlighted how he uses fiction to teach real psychology. Psychology Today carries his blog, “Beyond Heroes and Villains,” and he is one of 10 most popular psychologists on Twitter with over 100,000 followers: @superherologist.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: Brains! ix

Foreword: Why Don't They Die? John Russo xiii

Introduction: The Uncanny Valley of the Shadow of Death Travis Langley 1

I Waking 7

1 How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zombie Apocalypse Frank Gaskill 9

2 The Seductive Nostalgia of The Walking Dead Steven C. Schlozman 20

3 Inside the Head of the Walking Dead: The Neurobiology of Walker Dysfunction Disorder E. Paul Zehr Stephanie Norman 31

4 Masculinity Narratives in the Post-Apocalypse Alan Kistler Billy San Juan 42

Case File I Shane Walsh Travis Langley 51

II Responding 57

5 Shock and Dread: What Fear Does to Humans Dave Verhaagen 59

6 The Psychological Process and Cost of Killing in an Undead Wasteland Colt J. Blunt 71

7 Diversity and Strength in Zombie Apocalypse Atlanta Josué Cardona Lara Taylor 82

8 Who Needs an Untrustworthy Doctor? Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Jennifer Golbeck 93

Case File II Thomas Richards Travis Langley 107

III Dying 111

9 Walker or Biter? Group Identity in a Grave New World Katherine Ramsland 113

10 Apocalyptic Stress: Causes and Consequences of Stress at the End of the World William Blake Erickson John Blanchar 125

11 It's the Humans You Have to Worry About: Becoming a Sociopath Martin Lloyd 137

12 Carl Grimes and Neglected Youth Patrick O'Connor 148

Case File III The Governor Jonathan Hetterly Travis Langley 161

Case File IV Gareth Travis Langley 165

IV Walking 169

13 "It Should Have Been Me": Survivors' Guilt in The Walking Dead Mara Wood 171

14 The Walking Traumatized Janina Scarlet 182

15 Eros, Thanatos, and an Armory of Defense Mechanisms: Sigmund Freud in the Land of the Deal Travis Langley 192

16 "Everybody Knows Their Jobs": Roles, Systems, and the Survivor Group in Your Head Adam Davis 206

Case File V The Claimers Jonathan Hetterly 218

V Living 223

17 What Would You Do? Finding Meaning in Tragic Circumstances: A Bite-Sized Intro to Existential Psychology Dana Klisanin 225

18 Hillbilly to Hero: The Transformation of Daryl Dixon Stephen Kuniak Megan Blink 234

19 Finding Your Purpose in the Zombie Apocalypse Clay Routledge 246

Case File VI Negan Travis Langley 257

Case File VII The Whisperers Travis Langley 260

Final Word: Thriving 263

About the Editor 267

About the Contributors 268

Index 277

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