The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars


Who is more adept at emotion regulation, Vulcans or Jedi? Are the Borg or the Sith a larger threat to humanity? Do societies from the Outer Rim or the New Frontier better represent an inclusive universe?  This video presents the entire epic sci-fi battle from San Diego Comic-Con 2013, in which psychologists Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Dr. Ali Mattu debate the psychological science of Star Wars and Star Trek, with help from guest panelists Bryan Young (, Full of Sith podcast) and John Champion (DVD Geeks, Mission Log podcast). Boldly go where no geek has gone before and explore a galaxy far, far away!


4 Responses to “The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars”

  1. Michael Gill says:

    As a fan of both franchises I enjoyed this light hearted sparing. People should consider that each one of these subjects could have been discussed for hours. After watching I was thinking would a Vulcan make a good Jedi? I think it would be yes, but not a great Jedi. The Jedi mantra is “There is no emotion only peace” I think of this as the Jedi do not subdue their emotions. They still have them but they don’t let their emotions control their reactions. This is what brought about Anakins downfall. His inability to control his emotions like an angry child. For a Vulcan to be a Jedi they would have to allow emotions to be part of their being.

    For the Borg and the Sith, both are a great threat to humanity. I think the Borg are more terrifying because they represent the total annihilation of the world that they are trying to assimilate. With the Sith it would be more of a do they represent a direct threat to myself or my loved ones. For most of your average people on Corrusant of other worlds order 66 probably didn’t change their lives too much. Some joined the Rebel Alliance while most probably did nothing.

    But anyway, good Doctor keep up the great articles. I enjoy reading them. Have you ever considered an article about the similarities of the Geek Cosplay culture and the Sports culture of dressing up to root on your favorite team. Thanks.

    • Andrea says:

      Interesting thoughts! I will definitely consider Sports culture when delving into the psychology of cosplay and costume-wear. Great suggestion!

  2. Brian says:

    What a fun debate! I have always been a fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars, for different reasons as each has its own unique strengths. Even within each respective universe, I enjoy the original Star Trek series for different reasons than I do Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, just as I love both the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel trilogy. I was always bemused by fans who treated favorite series like a sports competition, where there can only be one definitive “winner”, such as if Trek scored more “home runs” than Wars. No problem for me to be engaged by both!

    • Andrea says:

      Agreed! We played off of a “healthy competition”, but at the end of the day, it’s really about the journey, not the ending 🙂

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