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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 55: “Zatanna”

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of Batman: The Animated Series.  Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 55: “Zatanna”

How did Batman learn that vanishing trick in which he seems to disappear into thin air (usually in mid-conversation)? He could have learned this technique from Zatara, an extraordinary, esteemed magician who took Bruce Wayne in as an apprentice a dozen years before he became the Caped Crusader and taught him the secrets of deception and escape!  Zatara was also a magic mentor and father to Zatanna, who, within those 12 years, became an accomplished, successful, and spunky stage magician. In her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, Zatanna is framed for a robbery at the Gotham Mint. She’s determined to catch the crook who framed her on her own, but finds herself arguing in the Batmobile with the Dark Knight himself. Bruce realizes that he must earn her trust to engage her assistance–but is he being authentic, or just using some mind tricks of his own? In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we’re excited to analyze Zatanna for the first time, delving into her magical role, not only as Batman’s companion, but also as a beloved character in the Bat-verse!

We also discuss the psychology of magic, an interesting intersection of science and entertainment, a discipline all about the art and evidence behind illusion. Ever wonder what happens in our brains while we’re watching a magic trick? It’s that whoa moment, the experience of witnessing something your eyes register as real but your brain says “this can’t be happening!” Scientists have measured this reaction!  It’s known as “expectation violation,” and researchers have found proof of a neural explanation behind this feeling of confusion, awe, and surprise related to magic. Click below to learn more by listening to our complete analysis!

For you science nuts out there, click here for the full article about the Psychology of Magic and the phenomenon known as “expectation violation.”  Want to watch the experimental clip they used in their study? Click here for the short demonstration of the “turning water into ice” expectation violatio –er, magic trick! 

Have psychology-related questions about Batman? Write to us via Twitter, @ArkhamSessions, or on Facebook. Or visit our official website.

And, don’t forget to subscribe to The Arkham Sessions on iTunes to get all of the latest episodes!




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