The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 68: “Trial”

Once again, Batman finds himself in a straight jacket!  He’s been captured by the super-villains of Gotham City and taken into Arkham Asylum, the facility for the “criminally insane.”  And every villain from the Rogues Gallery– Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, and of course, The Joker– are there to receive him. As part of a twisted but lethal game, the villains put Batman “on trial,” charging him with essentially creating the chaos, murder and mayhem that threatens the city.  Their claim: Batman is responsible for pushing villains to their criminal edge, and he should be prosecuted as such.  His defense lawyer is none other than the city’s District Attorney, Janet Van Dorn, who is kidnapped and forced to “play” his advocate. But Janet happens to believe Batman’s work as a vigilante is damaging to society, and undermines the legal system in place. “As far as I’m concerned, you belong here with them!” she sneers.

“We’re all freaks and monsters! And who made us this way? BATMAN!” – Two-Face.

From a psychological standpoint, do the villains have any justification in blaming Batman for their criminal identities? Furthermore, does this “exercise” in taking on the opposite view impact Janet’s beliefs about the Caped Crusader? We discuss the “backfire effect,” a psychological bias in which our beliefs actually get stronger when we’re faced with contradictory evidence. Learn more by listening to the full episode below!

The Arkham Sessions is a podcast dedicated to the psychology of the show, Batman: The Animated Series.  Have psychology related questions about Batman? Write to us via twitter @ArkhamSessions or on Facebook. Or visit our official website.

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