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The Social Psychology of the Justice League of America

By Wind Goodfriend, Ph.D.


from The Psychology of Superheroes

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This is one essay from the anthology The Psychology of Superheroes

This latest installment in the Psychology of Popular Culture series turns its focus to superheroes. Superheroes have survived and fascinated for more than 70 years in no small part due to their psychological depth.

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 share with their therapists.

About the Author

Robin S. Rosenberg is a clinical psychologist and co-author of Psychology in Context and Fundamentals of Psychology (introductory psychology textbooks) and Abnormal Psychology: The Neuropsychosocial Approach (abnormal psychology textbook). She has taught psychology courses at Lesley University and Harvard University and has a private practice in the Boston area. Her first foray into applying psychological theories and research to popular culture figures was for The Psychology of Harry Potter; she is the editor of the Psychology of Superheroes anthology. She can be found at

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About the Author

Wind  Goodfriend, Ph.D.

Wind Goodfriend, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at Buena Vista University. She earned her Ph.D. in social psychology in 2004 from Purdue University. Her areas of research expertise are gender stereotypes and romantic relationships, focusing specifically on positive and negative predictors of relationship stability over time. In her final year of graduate school, Dr. Goodfriend received both the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award and the Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year Award for her research. Since then, she has been nominated for and won several more research and teaching awards.

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