The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 84: Lock-Up

This week, we catch up with a new villain in Gotham City! Arkham Asylum’s chief security guard Lyle Bolton accuses groups such as the media, police department, and Gotham City bureaucrats for the disorganization and ineffectiveness of the facility. Calling Arkham a “revolving door for maniacs” and asserting that inmates are “turned from monsters into heroes by the permissive liberal media,” Bolton’s true nature is revealed and he is fired from the facility. Fueled by bitterness and disillusionment about the legal system, he becomes the menacing, hyper-masculine enforcer called “Lock-Up.” Of course it’s up to Batman – another enforcer – to bring Lock-Up back to his senses, and, of course, ensure that he’s nothing like the unempathetic guard who went too far.

In our consideration of Lock-Up‘s abusive treatment of Arkham’s patients, we explain the similarities between Lock-Up and real-life participants in the classic psychology study, The Stanford Prison Experiment (1971). Similar themes arise, such as psychological torture, intimidation, authoritarianism and social dominance. But does this mean any personality type can be susceptible to the situational influence of having an authority role? We discuss the phenomenon of Interactionism as a potential explanation for Lock-Up‘s behavior – if “Police Personality” truly exists, it’s very likely a combination of disposition and occupational socialization. Listen below for the full episode!

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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