Emotions Are Running High: Psychological Approaches to the Study of Professional Wrestling
Why would a psychologist be interested in academic approaches to studying professional wrestling? Involvement in fictional, imagined worlds—oral and written stories, drama, film, theatre—seems to be a human universal. What does a psychological perspective on the mind entail for our understanding of such fiction? It offers explanations for how the world around us has shaped our bodies, minds, and behavior, and how culture emerges out of human nature. Over human history, we have faced three main types of problems: survival, mating, and social living. From movie plot lines to theatre performances, from pornography to comedy routines, popular culture focuses on the ways in which people (successfully or not) deal with these problems in our modern worlds. These storylines draw in their audiences because they tap into the psychological mechanisms that we have for managing these problems in our own lives. Many professional wrestling storylines have a strong focus on problems in the mating and social living domains including competition, cooperation, and status striving.
The Popular Culture Studies Journal