Science Fiction and Psychology

BookScience Fiction and Psychology

Science Fiction and Psychology

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The psychologist may appear in science fiction as the herald of utopia or dystopia; literary studies have used psychoanalytic theories to interpret science fiction; and psychology has employed science fiction as an educational medium. Science Fiction and Psychology goes beyond such incidental observations and engagements to offer an in-depth exploration of science fiction literature’s varied use of psychological discourses, beginning at the birth of modern psychology in the late nineteenth century and concluding with the ascendance of neuroscience in the late twentieth century. Rather than dwelling on psychoanalytic readings, this literary investigation combines with history of psychology to offer attentive textual readings that explore five key psychological schools: evolutionary psychology, psychoanalysis, behaviourism, existential-humanism, and cognitivism. The varied functions of psychological discourses in science fiction are explored, whether to popularise and prophesy, to imagine utopia or dystopia, to estrange our everyday reality, to comment on science fiction itself, or to abet (or resist) the spread of psychological wisdom. Science Fiction and Psychology also considers how psychology itself has made use of science fiction in order to teach, to secure legitimacy as a discipline, and to comment on the present.


'Setting up an encounter between the histories of science fiction and psychology might portend a collision of alienworlds. Instead, Gavin Miller's Science Fiction and Psychology constructs a reflexive dialogue, which results in aunique synthesis of these two cultures.'
David C. Devonis, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

‘Miller’s work stays focused on the core argument, with no chance of descending into minutiae, errata, or apocrypha. This structure is a reflection of the careful and insightful scholarship Miller brings to bear on the subject. I highly recommend it for any waihang interested in a deeper understanding of the relationship between science fiction and the science of the mind.’
Nathaniel Isaacson, Science Fiction Studies

‘Indeed, Miller’s book “wittingly or unwittingly” encourages a well-deserved shift in attention to marginalized science fictions and sciences.’
Sydney Lane, Journal of Science Fiction

‘Gavin Miller’s Science Fiction and Psychology is a fantastic foundation for science fiction scholars to further explore the relevance of psychological novum in science fiction, and I have no doubt scholars working in other interdisciplinary fields would also appreciate understanding the “cultural traffic between the two territories” (242) which have shaped the 20th century and continue to affect our current understanding of the human mind and its relationship to its environment.’
Beata Gubacsi, The Polyphony

Author Information

Gavin Miller is Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities at the University of Glasgow.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1. Evolutionary psychology53
2. Psychoanalytic psychology89
3. Behaviourism and social constructionism135
4. Existential-humanistic psychology175
5. Cognitive psychology209
Conclusion: Science fiction in psychology243
Works Cited267