The Psychology of Dexter (Psychology of Popular Culture) Info

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Peek inside the mind of Dexter Morgan―police forensic
analyst, family man, serial killer, and the star of Showtime’s
most-watched series―with essays from seventeen psychologists and avid
fans.

Aimed at Dexter devotees and armchair
psychologists, The Psychology of Dexter takes on the
psychological complexities of the popular series with an eye towards
insight and accessibility. It analyzes not just the title character, but
his family, coworkers, and even his viewers. What makes Dexter tick?
What makes a show about a serial killer so appealing to those of us at
home. And do we need to be worried about our own Dark Passengers?

From the implications of faking normalcy (could it be
behind Dexter’s still-in-progress emotional growth?) to where the show
weighs in on the psychological debate between nature and nurture, this
book gives fans a peek inside Dexter’s psyche.

Think you
know Dexter? The Psychology of Dexter will make you think again.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.08

661 Ratings

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Reviews for The Psychology of Dexter (Psychology of Popular Culture):

3

Jun 08, 2011

Ok, I lost this book for awhile, but I have found it and finished it.

A very interesting read, warning, you do need to have seen the first 4 seasons of Dexter at least to really understand some of the cases made by the various contributors to this book.

Some of the writing is pretty dry and hard to get through, but you have to tell yourself that these people aren't authors, this isn't a story, this is an evaluation.

The Psychology of Dexter is an edited book of essays, it delves into why we watch Ok, I lost this book for awhile, but I have found it and finished it.

A very interesting read, warning, you do need to have seen the first 4 seasons of Dexter at least to really understand some of the cases made by the various contributors to this book.

Some of the writing is pretty dry and hard to get through, but you have to tell yourself that these people aren't authors, this isn't a story, this is an evaluation.

The Psychology of Dexter is an edited book of essays, it delves into why we watch the show, what draws us to a character such as Dexter, it explores the characters, asking questions such as what if Dexter isn't a psychopath but rather suffering from childhood PTSD? Could Harry have changed Dexter's destiny if he put him on a different path or took him to a shrink? How does everyone around Dexter unknowingly enable him?

Each essay is well thought out and well presented save a couple that I felt the authors shouldn't have been published in this compilation, that they weren't well thought out and the essays could have been someone's psychology essay or review of a character that was homework in college.

The thing that I really liked about this book/essay compilation is that I didn't feel confused by psych speak or jargon; the writers explain the language they use, so I understood, and then use that to explain how real life psychology effects Dexter and his world, or the way we as an audience relate to or perceive Dexter. I felt that not knowing psychology in depth, that I was able to keep up with the jargon because it was explained in simple terms - without making me feel stupid. ...more
5

Nov 08, 2010

An intelligent look at one of the best shows out there...come on, what amazing level of talented writing and acting does it take to get us to actually root for a serial killer and hope he doesn't get caught!
That, by the way, is what's called cognitive dissonance, according to one of the essays in the book.

I get all gushy when I find intelligent discussion of the shows I like. This book is one of the best of an excellent series (Smart Pop..check them out on the web) and it has definitely enhanced An intelligent look at one of the best shows out there...come on, what amazing level of talented writing and acting does it take to get us to actually root for a serial killer and hope he doesn't get caught!
That, by the way, is what's called cognitive dissonance, according to one of the essays in the book.

I get all gushy when I find intelligent discussion of the shows I like. This book is one of the best of an excellent series (Smart Pop..check them out on the web) and it has definitely enhanced my enjoyment of Dexter. Admittedly, the show is some pretty sick stuff, and after reading this book I can actually label the various psychological concepts that make our favorite sociopath and his non-murderous but equally messed-up family and colleagues in the Miami P.D. tick. ...more
4

Apr 15, 2013

I enjoyed this collection of articles by psychologists and psychiatrists (and a few psych students). Some read a bit like college essays and several of these people are obviously stuck on their own favorite psychological theory. (Is that some kind of syndrome? PSISPsychologist Self-Importance Syndrome) Others are more insightful and interesting. Overall, I'd recommend this book to Dexter fans. I enjoyed this collection of articles by psychologists and psychiatrists (and a few psych students). Some read a bit like college essays and several of these people are obviously stuck on their own favorite psychological theory. (Is that some kind of syndrome? PSIS—Psychologist Self-Importance Syndrome) Others are more insightful and interesting. Overall, I'd recommend this book to Dexter fans. ...more
2

Feb 13, 2012

meh. What could be more fictional than psychologists talking about a made up psychopath?
0

Aug 07, 2011

Read the first several chapters years ago & skimmed through the rest. Meh
2

Oct 22, 2013

It's pretty interesting to read this after the series has ended. It's alright but not much more than any psych student could have easily diagnosed themselves. Some of the papers try a little too hard and leave out details that do not support their ideas, but that's pretty normal I suppose!
5

Jan 24, 2011

Want to know how the show Dexter compares to Star Wars or Harry Potter? Want to know why we as an audience can be so fascinated by the journey of a serial killer and even regard him as a hero that we root for? These ideas and many more comprise these essays about the show's first four seasons - written by fans of Dexter who are also psychologists. The show's other characters, as well as Harry, are explored as well. I found it very interesting and thought-provoking. And as I rewatch the show with Want to know how the show Dexter compares to Star Wars or Harry Potter? Want to know why we as an audience can be so fascinated by the journey of a serial killer and even regard him as a hero that we root for? These ideas and many more comprise these essays about the show's first four seasons - written by fans of Dexter who are also psychologists. The show's other characters, as well as Harry, are explored as well. I found it very interesting and thought-provoking. And as I rewatch the show with my husband, I'm better understanding, appreciating and enjoying what I already knew was a great show with one of the most compelling characters on TV - Dexter Morgan. Make sure you've watched through Season 4 though to avoid spoilers. ...more
5

Oct 13, 2014

It is no quiet rumor that I loved Dexter; up until the last two seasons.

This book, primarily a reference guide, plummets the common viewer into the deeper realms of Dexter. Written by experts, this book is a nice complementary piece for a show that has gained a large following.

From an examination of personality traits, to the way a psychopath is 'created' this book has it all.

It has a very in depth look at how the individuals around him fed his behaviors, but also how people unintentionally It is no quiet rumor that I loved Dexter; up until the last two seasons.

This book, primarily a reference guide, plummets the common viewer into the deeper realms of Dexter. Written by experts, this book is a nice complementary piece for a show that has gained a large following.

From an examination of personality traits, to the way a psychopath is 'created' this book has it all.

It has a very in depth look at how the individuals around him fed his behaviors, but also how people unintentionally expanded on and promoted his 'Dark Passenger'. The book also included ways that Dexter's relationship fit snug into his 'lifestyle'.

I highly recommend it, and since the show is on re-runs maybe this deeper psychological understanding will heighten the experience of watching it. It is very likely this could make a wonderfully unique psychology paper. ...more
4

Jan 21, 2013

This is a collection of essays by professional psychologists about the television show, "Dexter." For the most part, it's a fantastic read which incorporates a lot of current social topics, psychological trends and news items. My biggest qualm was that the psychologists don't seem to have communicated with each other very much before turning in their essays: a lot of the authors bring up the same topics or try to use the same "hooks" and "leaders" at the starts of their essays to lure you in. This is a collection of essays by professional psychologists about the television show, "Dexter." For the most part, it's a fantastic read which incorporates a lot of current social topics, psychological trends and news items. My biggest qualm was that the psychologists don't seem to have communicated with each other very much before turning in their essays: a lot of the authors bring up the same topics or try to use the same "hooks" and "leaders" at the starts of their essays to lure you in. The problem is, you're already very interested in what they're saying, so it gets a little redundant!

But that's just me being picky... as far as the quality of theories and analyses goes, these are mostly very plausible explanations with very interesting insights. Most of the essays look at the psychology of the protagonist, Dexter the man. Every psychology book seems to have to incorporate theories about the effects of TV on society though, and this one keeps it to a minimum. However, there is a hauntingly good one at the very end. The author describes a vegetarian who has to earn a living killing and gutting salmon in Alaska, military officers who have to pilot drones to kill people and then go to church on Sunday, and most chillingly, statistics about how more and more acts of torture are on television today and how these acts are usually done by "the good guys" We would seem to be lapping it up.

There's a fair amount of psychobabble and premises for arguments that don't seem to come together, but it's not unendurable. There is gold in this book that shouldn't be ignored due to a little tarnishing. As both a fan of Dexter and someone who spent five years earning a counseling degree, I personally have always been a little bothered by how Dexter really doesn't at all qualify for antisocial personality disorder. That exact same topic is covered in this book as well. And that essay is the one that really seemed to hit the nail on the head for me. It suggests that Dexter is a tragically normal person who is the product of narcissistic parenting. There's a lot of attention being turned onto the topic of pathological narcissism these days- and with good reason. Perhaps more and more Americans are growing up under narcissistic parenting. And maybe that's the real reason why we can't get enough of Dexter Morgan. ...more
1

Jan 04, 2013

I had high hopes for this book and a few of the essays in it were quite good, but it became very repetitive. Most of the psychologists who wrote about Dexter said pretty much the same thing. I was frankly disappointed in it.
5

Jul 06, 2013

As a psychology major it was insightful of how childhood tragedies can affect a person. Even though this is a TV character, it was interesting to get a psychological perspective on Dexter. I also had never seen the show, but was more intrigued when I read the book along with the show. If you can't handle blood, this is not the book for you.

Very interesting read.
5

Mar 27, 2016

This was a very fascinating and informative read. Definitely recommend this to all and any Dexter fans and anyone who is interested in/loves psychology.

While reading this, I found myself learning about many different things and topics. And will definitely be checking out the books and authors mentioned in this book.
3

Mar 19, 2012

On the one hand, this book is incredibly nerdy (who reads psychological essays about their favorite show besides me?) and on the other, it is completely engrossing and thought-provoking; I mostly loved The Psychology of Dexter. A couple of the essays were very dry or not very stimulating, but most were very clever and enjoyable. Overall, if you are a fan of the show and wonder just HOW you can be rooting so heartily for a serial killer or just need your Dexter fix between seasons, try this.
4

Apr 01, 2015

This book was very entertaining. I love the show Dexter, and I studied psychology in school, so it was a perfect fit for me. While I certainly did not agree with all of the arguments, it was interesting to see how each author made his or her conclusions. It would have been better if it had been updated after the show ended, as it only covers the first four seasons. It could be kind of repetitive, but overall, very interesting!
5

Jun 20, 2015

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is well written and entertaining. I learned a lot about the application of psychological terms to real life situations (or TV show portrayals). I must find some other similar books. Some articles that I particularly enjoyed: Jared A Defife's "Predator on the Prowl", Marisa Mauro's "The Psychology of Dexter's Kills" and "It's All About Harry", Jeremy Clyman's "The Angels on His Shoulder", and Adi Jaffe's "The Killer Within".
4

May 25, 2014

As a die hard fan of the show, I could not wait to get my hands on this book and it did not at all disappoint. It digs below the surface of Dexter and looks in between the lines of what is shown on the screen. It is a well written, intelligent dissection. Put together by a collection of psychologists, it is extremely detailed, intricate and insightful. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who finds themselves craving a deeper look into the series.
3

Nov 30, 2014

Part of the "The Psychology of [pop culture item here]" series, this book is a collection of essays about the show Dexter. The authors present a myriad of different opinions and ideas - one essay argues that Dexter is worse than Paul when it comes to abusiveness, while another essay argues that Dexter (and other psychopaths) aren't nearly as bad as we think. It's an interesting read, and it made me think about the show in new ways.

A note of warning: this book contains spoilers through the end of Part of the "The Psychology of [pop culture item here]" series, this book is a collection of essays about the show Dexter. The authors present a myriad of different opinions and ideas - one essay argues that Dexter is worse than Paul when it comes to abusiveness, while another essay argues that Dexter (and other psychopaths) aren't nearly as bad as we think. It's an interesting read, and it made me think about the show in new ways.

A note of warning: this book contains spoilers through the end of season four of Dexter. ...more
0

Apr 25, 2011

If you haven't watched the entire series by the time you read this book, you'll ruin things for yourself. There should be spoiler warnings on it.

I liked the psychological insight into one of my favorite antiheroes. I thought it interesting that no one psychologist seemed to agree on the source of Dexter's self-imposed status as Dark Avenger. Commentary on te field of psychology I suppose.

Ohhh..also in the series, "The Psychology of Joss Whedon". Too bad I can't find it in any library in the If you haven't watched the entire series by the time you read this book, you'll ruin things for yourself. There should be spoiler warnings on it.

I liked the psychological insight into one of my favorite antiheroes. I thought it interesting that no one psychologist seemed to agree on the source of Dexter's self-imposed status as Dark Avenger. Commentary on te field of psychology I suppose.

Ohhh..also in the series, "The Psychology of Joss Whedon". Too bad I can't find it in any library in the state. Might just have to buy it.

I'm thinkin' permaybehaps. :) ...more
4

Dec 30, 2013

The Psychology of Dexter is a series of essays written by mental health types who look at some of the mental health aspects of the show. I enjoyed several of them but lost interest in the book after about 75%-- it just seemed to get repetitive.

I'll be doing a blog series on this book. I'll post the links here after they go live.

My favorite essays were:

Rethinking Dexter by Lisa Firestone, PhD.

Naughty by Nature by Joshua L. Gowin

The Psychology of Dexter's Kills by Marisa Mauro, PsyD.

Deception by The Psychology of Dexter is a series of essays written by mental health types who look at some of the mental health aspects of the show. I enjoyed several of them but lost interest in the book after about 75%-- it just seemed to get repetitive.

I'll be doing a blog series on this book. I'll post the links here after they go live.

My favorite essays were:

Rethinking Dexter by Lisa Firestone, PhD.

Naughty by Nature by Joshua L. Gowin

The Psychology of Dexter's Kills by Marisa Mauro, PsyD.

Deception by Bella Depaulo, PhD.

...more
3

May 15, 2013

This is a collection of essays written at the end of the fourth season and there are spoilers if you haven't seen the entire season. Some of the essays looked exclusively at Dexter and some included other characters such as Rita and Deb. While there was much agreement, almost repetition in some essays, I found the differing interpretations of Dexter's own psychology, particularly his evolution, the most thought provoking. At least one examined the psychology of the viewer and this made me look This is a collection of essays written at the end of the fourth season and there are spoilers if you haven't seen the entire season. Some of the essays looked exclusively at Dexter and some included other characters such as Rita and Deb. While there was much agreement, almost repetition in some essays, I found the differing interpretations of Dexter's own psychology, particularly his evolution, the most thought provoking. At least one examined the psychology of the viewer and this made me look closer at why I enjoy the show so much. As in any group of essays by various authors, I found some more interesting than others but overall I'd recommend it to fans of the show. ...more
5

Jan 31, 2013

Wonderful book. I enjoyed reading the insights of some incredibly intelligent individuals about my favorite character on TV. This book truly gave me a new point of view of some things concerning the show that I had not given much thought to. I really hope they continue with this book for more current seasons. There are SO many more aspects of these characters that I would love to see investigated further. This is an absolute must read for any Dexter fan and for anyone with even the slightest Wonderful book. I enjoyed reading the insights of some incredibly intelligent individuals about my favorite character on TV. This book truly gave me a new point of view of some things concerning the show that I had not given much thought to. I really hope they continue with this book for more current seasons. There are SO many more aspects of these characters that I would love to see investigated further. This is an absolute must read for any Dexter fan and for anyone with even the slightest interest in psychology. Since I am going to school for psychology, I am 100% fulfilled by this book. The best part about it is that you don't have to agree with everything these psychologists are saying but the points that are made were incredible. ...more
3

Mar 07, 2014

I was expecting something a little better I supposed, considering these essays were about the show and not the books. The first couple essays are okay but it might be the kind of book you shouldn't read straight through; I don't even remember season 2 or 4 in their entirety and I remember nothing of season 3 but after the first 3 or so essays, I felt like I was reading things I already knew. A lot of the "conclusions" the authors make were things I kind of felt like "yeah, I know. So what?" And I was expecting something a little better I supposed, considering these essays were about the show and not the books. The first couple essays are okay but it might be the kind of book you shouldn't read straight through; I don't even remember season 2 or 4 in their entirety and I remember nothing of season 3 but after the first 3 or so essays, I felt like I was reading things I already knew. A lot of the "conclusions" the authors make were things I kind of felt like "yeah, I know. So what?" And the last two essays didn't even seem to be about Dexter but rather about society as a whole. The last one in particular, even though the title forewarned you about it, hardly even mentioned Dexter. I noticed several typos throughout as well, and one writer didn't know what commas were because it was severely lacking in proper punctuation. The book took me a lot longer to read than it should have, given that it wasn't that hard. I'm not always easily distracted from reading but from this book I really was. ...more
5

Jul 17, 2013

Even if you're like me, you've probably heard of the tv show Dexter. Actually, I think my dad watches Dexter occasionally. As for me, I'm making my way through the books. So while I'm jumping the gun, I requested to read this anthology.

Because Dexter is so obviously full of psychologically complex characters (Dexter does claim to be a sociopath after all), there is so much to dig into. This book has eighteen different topics, covering things from The Dark Passenger In All Of Us to Why Even if you're like me, you've probably heard of the tv show Dexter. Actually, I think my dad watches Dexter occasionally. As for me, I'm making my way through the books. So while I'm jumping the gun, I requested to read this anthology.

Because Dexter is so obviously full of psychologically complex characters (Dexter does claim to be a sociopath after all), there is so much to dig into. This book has eighteen different topics, covering things from The Dark Passenger In All Of Us to Why Psychopaths Like Dexter Aren't Really All That Bad (that one was a really interesting read).

What I liked about the book is that each chapter is it's own self-contained analysis. Quite some of the authors raise points that might contradict each other (incidentally, what is your opinion of Harry?), proving that there are no right answers (wait, this is about literature, I thought we were talking about psychology).

If my psychology class was this interesting, I would probably remember a lot more. As it is, I liked the book a lot more.

So in conclusion, if you're a fan of Dexter, you should definitely read this book. If you like to read about psychology and don't mind spoilers, you should definitely read this book too - I think it explains the subject matter really well.

Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

This review was first posted to Inside the mind of a Bibliophile ...more
4

Jan 26, 2014

Even though Dexter isn't real the writing and acting is so sophisticated psychologically that mental health professionals are able to discuss both him and the people closest to him as if they were all real.

There are several different articles each by a different professional. Some didn't engage my interest but many did. The second one was the best, I thought, and the one from which I learned the most about Dexter but many others offered real insight.

Dexter's stepfather, Harry Morgan, was taken Even though Dexter isn't real the writing and acting is so sophisticated psychologically that mental health professionals are able to discuss both him and the people closest to him as if they were all real.

There are several different articles each by a different professional. Some didn't engage my interest but many did. The second one was the best, I thought, and the one from which I learned the most about Dexter but many others offered real insight.

Dexter's stepfather, Harry Morgan, was taken on and presented as a narcissistic with both Dexter and Debra, his sister, analyzed as typical children of a narcissistic household.

Debra isn't spared the blade as she is seen as damaged with a poor self-worth as she bounces from one man to another in search of validation and a father figure, which she found in Lundy.

Rita is also taken apart. I personally liked her but it seems many people don't because she refuses to be real, hiding her real self along with her anger as she goes from one abusive man to another. She is presented as growing and coming into her own just as she is murdered. Even her great relationship with Dexter is presented as another abusive one although more subtle with Dexter lying and manipulating her in order to hide who he is and what he does to the point of faking a heroin addiction. This brings him to Lila, a borderline personality.

I look at the world a little differently now and am planning to watch the series again to pick up everything I missed the first time around.
...more
4

Jul 31, 2013

Review originally published here: http://www.iheartreading.net/reviews/...

This book is a collection of essays written by psychologists about the television show Dexter, about a serial killer who works is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro police department. Dexter is one of my all-time favorite shows, mainly because the main character is so complex. Dexter is a serial killer, but hes also a colleague, a family man, a devoted brother, a good son. But theres this dark side to him, this Review originally published here: http://www.iheartreading.net/reviews/...

This book is a collection of essays written by psychologists about the television show “Dexter”, about a serial killer who works is a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro police department. “Dexter” is one of my all-time favorite shows, mainly because the main character is so complex. Dexter is a serial killer, but he’s also a colleague, a family man, a devoted brother, a good son. But there’s this dark side to him, this desire to hurt and kill, that could end up being his own undoing. The show is very well-written, and the writers definitely know their subject matter. Because I love the show so much, I was intrigued to start this collection of essays.

Most of them were very good, detailed, offering thorough explanations of why Dexter or his fellow characters do certain things. Each essays provides its own mini-analysis, and sometimes even the experts don’t agree, which shows psychology, in particular the psychology of psychopaths, or serial killers, or what can bring people to become serial killers, isn’t all that easy.

I particularly enjoyed the essay talking about Dexter suffering from PTSD during his childhood, and that most of what Harry interprets as behavior typical for a serial killer is, in fact, behavior typical for a child suffering from PTSD. Even though I have no psychology background except my brief course of law psychology at university, I always believed that Harry was for the most part responsible for Dexter turning out the way he is. Why Dexter may have had all the ingredients of a serial killer, he also had all the ingredients for a traumatised child. But by offering him a code, a way to let go of his anger – that was not healthy at all, killing people hardly ever is – Harry turned Dexter into a serial killer. I felt like this essay in particular hit it spot on, but there were several other essays that were also eye-opening, or had me nodding at every passage.

My major pet peeve? There’s a lot of repetition and redundancy that could’ve been avoided. The authors use the same hooks, sometimes practically the same sentences, and some psychological things are explained three, even four times.

Another intriguing essay explored why viewers are so entranced with Dexter Morgan, and some even see him as a hero since he only kills ‘the bad guys’. How can a serial killer become a hero? I enjoyed reading this essay, although I already had plenty of thoughts about that myself, some of which were repeated here.

Overall, this was a good read, and a must for fans of the show. ...more

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