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Psychologists, students present as part of online Comic-Con International

Psychologists from Marshall University’s Psy.D. program were again invited to be part of Comic-Con International this summer, which will be online for the second year. Comic-Con@Home featured hundreds of panel discussions that included actors, writers and other famous names from television, movies, gaming and comics July 23-25 at

The Marshall panelists’ discussion, titled “Psychology and Pop Culture: An Empirical Adventure,” is available at[item_id]=7120 and is based on the academic book the presenters wrote and had published in March.

Panelists included Dr. Keith Beard, director of Marshall’s Psy.D. Program, along with Dr. April Fugett, a professor in Department of Psychology; Dr. Britani S. Black, an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; and alum Josh Carter, Psy.D., as well as current Psy.D. students Casey Collins, Jake Bass and Kasey Kessler.

“It is exciting that we get to present at Comic-Con International again, and the fact that it is virtual will allow people from around the world who might not ever get the chance to travel to Comic-Con in-person to be able to experience some great panels and presentations,” Fugett said before the presentation premiered July 25.

“This presentation will be a great way for people to learn about psychology and pop culture research that we have collected over the past decade and put together in our book titled Psychology and Pop Culture: An Empirical Adventure,” Beard said. “If people are interested in this academic book then this presentation will give them a taste of what the book is about.”

The book and the presentation cover topics from psychological factors related to personality traits, job selection and interest, love, politics and world beliefs, women’s issues, and LGBTQ+ populations, Black said.

“We integrate research on these topics with pop culture themes such as superheroes and superpowers, Disney characters, fandoms, antiheroes, and nostalgic characters and shows,” she said.

The group has participated in Comic-Con International in previous years as well. Last year, they presented “Christmas in July: The Psychology of Pop Culture and Christmas,” as part of Comic-Con@Home, and in previous years, a group from Marshall traveled to San Diego and presented on the topics of nostalgia and animation, as well as some psychological aspects of Harry Potter fandom.

Along with representing the university on an international stage, Comic-Con is an excellent opportunity for students to delve into research, Beard said.

“We are always excited to have students participate in our research and not only provide them with knowledge on how to conduct psychological research but to also give them the opportunity and experience to present to an international audience,” Beard said.

For more information about Marshall’s Psy.D. program, visit