A Response to “the Walking Dead” Tv Series: a Psychological Perspective

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AMC”s “The Walking Dead” is a post-apocalyptic television show based on an ongoing comic book series. Set in Atlanta, Georgia the plot follows a small group of people, led by police officer Rick Grimes, struggling to survive after a pandemic of an unknown disease causes people to turn into zombies. After infection, a person initially dies, but is then somehow revived back to “life.” These zombies, or “walkers” as they are deemed on the show, seemingly have no self-awareness, but are able to walk and respond to surrounding stimuli. Additionally, they have an unquenchable hunger for human flesh, which, when in large enough numbers, pose a great danger to those still living and unaffected by the disease. While the series explores numerous psychological, social, and even philosophical issues, perhaps providing additional subliminal commentary on today’s society, this paper will mainly focus on topics that were only specifically discussed in this Psych 2 course. The existence of the walkers and the interactions between the surviving characters offer great insight into the subjects of neurological biology, the mind-body problem, and consciousness, three matters that were examined in lectures.

The first theme that reminded me of what I learned in psychology while having a marathon of this TV series was its basis in neurobiology. At the end of season one the view learns a little bit more about this mysterious epidemic. Dr. Edwin Jenner, the only researcher left at the C.D.C, explains a little bit about what is known of the virus. It essentially attacks the brain until death. However, the virus continues and the second major event of the infection leads to the brainstem being reactivated and, as Jenner states while he points to the cerebrum, “the human part, that doesn’t come back.” After learning about all the different areas of the brain and how action potentials function within neurological mechanisms, this in theory makes sense. The brain stem, which...
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