Brad Wolgast (who received his Ph.D. from Temple University) learned the basics of group dynamics under the stress of the outdoors as a backpacking guide in New Mexico, and later across the country. He thought he had struck research gold when an adviser recommended he use a survival analysis for a research project. Not knowing this statistical method, he said, “No problem, I analyze that show every week. But how do we use that for a research project?” Well, now we know. Brad would like to thank the hardworking Daniel Strunk, Ph.D., without whom this wouldn’t have been written, and his two favorite “Survivor” fans, Henry and Claire.
The Rise of the Heartless Mercenary
By Brad Wolgast
from The Psychology of Survivor
This is one essay from the anthology The Psychology of Survivor
Six years into the 21st century, many trends have already come and gone, but America can’t seem to turn off or get enough of reality television. Many fans and critics alike consider “Survivor” to be the first (and the best) reality program out there. From its debut in the summer of 2000 to the eagerly anticipated and controversial 13th season coming in the fall of 2006, millions tune in each week, and the appeal doesn’t seem to be fading. Psychology of Survivor is out to answer a few questions. From situational ethics to tribal loyalties, from stress and body image to loneliness and family structures, Psychology of Survivor is a broad look at cutting-edge psychological issues view through the lens of “Survivor.” Even more, Psychology of Survivor provides psychological insights into the dynamics of “Survivor,” explaining why macho alpha males rarely win, keys to getting your fellow survivors to like you, and the dreaded Rob Cestaries Factor. The third book in BenBella Book’s Psychology of Popular Culture series is accessible yet interesting, smart yet entertaining, Psychology of Survivor will appeal to millions of “Survivor” fans and psychology enthusiasts alike.
About the Author
Richard J. Gerrig, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Stony Brook University. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1980 and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1984. Gerrig’s primary research focuses on readers’ experiences of narrative worlds. He considers both the basic cognitive psychological processes that enable readers to understand discourse and the broader consequences of readers’ experiences of being transported to narrative worlds. With Philip Zimbardo, he is the author of the introductory textbook Psychology and Life.