The Psychology of Harry Potter

An Unauthorized Examination of the Boy who Lived


The Psychology of Harry Potter, edited by Neil Mulholland, gives a whole new point of view to the wizarding world along with everyone's childhood hero. Unraveling J.K. Rowling's world, we begin to come to an understanding of the individual characters along with the world they belong to. In The Psychology of Harry Potter, scenes from the original text are opened up to show thought processes, motivations, and the psychological depth of each character. Each chapter brings a new view to everything from the teaching styles of Hogwarts to the flaws and insecurities of various characters.
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About the Author

Neil Mulholland was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, where he attended the University of Glasgow and graduated with an MA in History of Art and a PhD on Art Britain in the late 1970s. He later graduated from Arizona State University in 1979. He is now a senior psychologist in child and family psychiatry and is living in Canada, working a the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.
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The Psychology of Harry Potter evaluates a lot of the fictional series but it also ties it into the real world. Throughout the book, there are examples of different psychological experiments and how the results are similar to situations in the book. For example, the examination explains how in the wizarding world, the wizards have been conditioned to living in constant fear of Voldemort's attacks that even after he is gone, they continue to be on edge and loose curiosity of the world out of fear. This scenario is similar to study on learned helplessness (Overmeier & Seligman) where a dog was placed in a cage and received a series of shocks. The dog was conditioned and learned to fear the shocks that even when they were not present and the cage door was left open, he did not venture out due to the fear of being shocked (Mulholland 14).
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