Netflix & Kill: An Examination of the Anti-hero Through the Lens of Abnormal Psychology
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My thesis examines the question of whether characters advertised as anti-heroes in television shows actually act in ways that are consistent with the definition of an anti-hero. I examined two theories on engagement with anti-heroes (Affective Disposition Theory and Moral Disengagement Theory). I generated two hypotheses based on these theories and tested them using case studies of two anti-hero television shows (House of Cards and Dexter). I found that both theories were consistent with the data, leading to the paradoxical conclusion that anti-heroes display both morally deviant and morally good behaviors. I then discuss the implications of our engagement with anti-hero television shows and possibilities for future research.