THE ARKHAM SESSIONS, by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the observation and clinical analysis of the characters in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.

This week, we get a clear portrayal of a full-fledged delusional disorder in a new villain: Maxie Zeus. We discuss the diagnosis of Delusional Disorder, types of delusions and the impact the illness could have on the family members, partners and colleagues around the person suffering. Finally, we consider what the real differences are between Batman and Maxie Zeus--could they actually be more alike based on their fixed values, impervious beliefs, and the "creation" of an identity?

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_63_Fire_From_Olympus.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:36pm PDT
Comments[0]

What separates humans from robots? Dr. Andrea Letamendi dives into the psychology at play in this fantastic episode that brings up deep emotional themes seen in science fiction classics like Blade Runner and haunting imagery from others like The Terminator.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_62_His_Silicon_Soul.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 12:04pm PDT
Comments[0]

When we left our heroes, Ra's al Ghul was holding his own daughter above his head, ready to kill her in a sudden fit of insanity, brought on by the rejuvinating effects of the Lazarus Pit. In this episode, we look at the similarities between Batman and Ra's al Ghul, as well as whether Batman would ever be able to have a romantic relationship in addition to the life he leads as Gotham's number one crimefighter. That and more here!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_61_The_Demons_Quest_Part_2.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:36pm PDT
Comments[0]

It's our first real look at the mysterious Ra's al Ghul, "The Demon's Head!" First introduced, along with his daughter, Talia, in "Off Balance," this quintessential member of Batman's Rogues really gets to shine in "The Demon's Quest, Part 1."  When Robin and Talia are kidnapped on the same day, Ra's recruits Batman to help him rescue them. But is everything ever as it seems in Gotham City? Their journey takes them from Gotham to Calcutta to Malaysia to the Himalayas and, finally, to the infamous Lazarus Pit! But why? Find out in this week's episode of The Arkham Sessions!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_60_The_Demons_Quest_Part_1.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 12:32pm PDT
Comments[0]

Due to a catastrophic explosion at WayneTech Industries, Bruce Wayne is injured and suffers corneal flash burns. The bad news: He's temporarily blind! Against Dr.'s orders, he suits up as Batman and goes after The Penguin so he can stop him from causing anymore mayhem with a stolen military-grade helicopter, aptly nicknamed "Raven."  Aided by an occular device (that seems to be implanted in his brain?!), Batman regains his vision and pursues The Penguin and his henchmen to the site of a dangerous steel factory. But the visual aid runs out of batteries, rendering Batman completely blind while facing one of his most dangerous enemies. Miraculously, he discovers how to compensate for his lack of sight by engaging his other senses, and Daredevi--er, Batman, finds a way to serve his mission without one of his most integral senses!

In this episode of the Arkham Sessions, we discuss Batman's inflexible personality, his insistence on working "impaired," and his ability to work with the new deficit of blindness.  We explain potential circumstances in which one could "see without seeing," such as the condition called "blindsight" and the fascinating phenomenon called "neuroplasticity" -- how the brain can adapt and change based on experiences. For instance, if one sense is deprived of input, other senses (hearing, taste, touch) are augmented, and actually take up more "brain space" than initially reserved for those senses! Finally, we revisit the Milgram Obedience Study, a famously groundbreaking study that revealed the dangers of authority and conformity.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_59_Blind_as_a_Bat.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:29pm PDT
Comments[0]

Commissioner Gordon has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from mob boss Rupert Thorne and Batman's on the case. But so is Gordon's daughter, Barbara, who's showing herself to be quite the accomplished crime fighter herself...as Batgirl! This week, The Arkham Sessions breaks down her acceptance into the Bat Family, how her origin is different than that of Batman and Robin's and whether being a murderer means you're mentally ill!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_58_Shadow_of_the_Bat.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:00pm PDT
Comments[0]

Why do we stay with people who hurt us? Why are so-called "toxic" relationships sometimes the hardest ones to leave? And what can we do when those relationships become too dangerous for our psychological or physical well-being? In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we spend some time reviewing one of the most psychologically relevant episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, "Harley and Ivy."
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_57_Harley_and_Ivy.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 1:06pm PDT
Comments[0]

The brutal bird is back! We revisit the psychology of The Penguin this week in our review of "The Mechanic." Due to a high-octane car chase, the Batmobile is pretty banged up. Batman takes his beloved wheels to his mechanic, a man who basically services all the bat-vehicles in a secret garage hidden under Gotham City. Unfortunately, The Penguin discovers the location of the secret garage and blackmails the mechanic into booby-trapping the Batmobile! Although the episode is full of action-packed chases and hostage situations, there's still a lot of psychology to discuss! Is The Penguin a sociopath? And what's a sociopath anyway? What does all this destruction say about Batman? Find out!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_56_The_Mechanic.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 11:33am PDT
Comments[0]

Brian's love of magic is rewarded with this episode of The Arkham Sessions! Zatanna, the daughter of one of Bruce's old mentors, has come to Gotham to put on a show. Boy, does she ever! But it might get her into trouble. Dr. Letamendi discusses the Batman's continuing saga with unobtainable love interests, the psychology of magic and we even learn how Zatanna's big trick could have been done!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_55_Zatanna.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:37pm PDT
Comments[0]

Once again, we're given a glimpse into the sibling rivalries within Gotham's mob community. Only this time, it's the brother of Rupert Thorne, Matthew, a gifted surgeon--and former friend to Thomas Wayne and Leslie Thompkins--whose license was revoked, due to his participation in Rupert's criminal activities. "Paging the Crime Doctor," perhaps, gives us our best peek into the personality of Rupert Thorne so far. So what does Dr. Letamendi have to say about him? And how does Batman himself stack up to Dr. Letamendi's professional code of ethics? Find out now!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_54_Paging_the_Crime_Doctor.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 8:43am PDT
Comments[0]