Episode 138: Zombies – 6 Reasons Why We Are So Fascinated By Them

Image of zombiesAfraid of zombies? Heard about the coming zombie apocalypse? Have you watched the TV show The Walking Dead or ever seen a movie about Zombies (perhaps Zombieland or Dawn of the Dead)?


Zombie Fascination
What is so fascinating about the undead? Why do many of us get a strange pleasure out of seeing a zombie get killed? In this episode I explore that strange part of ourselves which seems to enjoy watching the undead get really dead.

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Looking for a fun way to enjoy learning more about psychology? Then purchase my ebook: Zombie Psychology. In this 22-page PDF, I explore:

  • how Sigmund and Anna Freud‘s ideas apply to zombies (the Death Instinct and Ego Defense Mechanisms)
  • the connection between zombies and Terror Management theory
  • Just World belief and zombies
  • I address the explanation that only the more primitive parts of the brain are active in a zombie. Is this possible? Find out in the ebook and learn a little about the brain along the way.


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Zombie Fascination

  • Film-goers have always loved a good scare, and a shambling collection of neuron-challenged corpses make a pretty terrifying story. And if my zombie-obsessed 14-year-old son is a representative sample, blowing the undead away with heavy weaponry has a solid adolescent demographic appeal. But there’s no question, at least in my mind, that zombies (and Godzilla) are an allegorical representation of our fear that science and the technologies it spawn will lead to our destruction. – James Turner, Forbes Magazine article


  • People are fascinated by phenomena such as ESP, psychokinesis, communicating with the dead, ghosts, vampires, and zombies in part because [they] allow for the possibility of some essence or aspect of us surviving beyond death. One could speculate that these forms of the supernatural are growing in popularity, along with their positive counterparts, superheroes, because of lessened faith in traditional religious conceptions of the supernatural…

    Zombies also deny the finality of death – here are these beings who are functioning after they have died. It’s not a pretty afterlife, but if this is possible, better forms may also be out there.

    …because zombies are “already dead” we can be guilt free and gleefully watch them killed in every way possible no matter how grisly, vicariously aggressing against this substitute source of our fears with complete abandon.”


    Episode 125: False Memories – How Can Your Memory Be So Bad?

    We tend to believe our memories are accurate, but they are far from it. The Supreme Court is finally beginning to realize this, now we even may have A physiological marker for false memories. What we remember is a hodge-podge, a patchwork of images, stories, and bits and pieces from our past. In this episode I describe some of the very interesting research showing how our memories can be manipulated in surprising ways. Learn why you loved asparagus as a kid (really you did, really).



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    Elizabeth Loftus and Eyewitness Testimony

    Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has conducted numerous experiments regarding the fallibility of the human memory. She has found that human memory is far from exact. To the contrary, she believes that memory can be manipulated in many different ways.

    What Causes our Memories to be False?

    Stress associated with the traumatic event can be a factor. Introduction of wrong information to the eyewitness can then be processed, and events can be retold by that witness which unknowingly incorporate that misinformation. Depending on the jury’s perception of the eyewitness’s credibility, inaccurate statements can become fact in their minds and this can lead to wrongful convictions.


    Resources on False Memories