August 20, 2017

Author: Dr. Frank Gaskill

NOTHING Comes at Night: How Hollywood is Outsmarting America

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 15, 2017
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*SPOILER ALERT* I was beyond excited about the movie It Comes at Night. Always hopeful, my expectation was for this film to be a thrilling, scary movie that was smart and not made for the masses. I needed a truly scary, thrilling movie for the summer. And the trailer for this film did not disappoint with […]

Batgirl or Batwoman? You decide…

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 12, 2017
  • 1
Recently, I got the chance to see the Lego Batman movie (again) and I started to think about Batgirl. Why is she called Batgirl as opposed to Batwoman? So, I reached out to my good friend, Lindsay Stewart, who is also a professional cosplayer. She lives, breathes and thinks about superheroes–all the time.  Being a […]

A Psychologist’s Take on the Alien Franchise and Primordial Fear

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 18, 2017
  • 0
Why has Alien become integrated into the pop-culture psyche in a way that very few other films have? I was 10 and standing in an Eckerd’s drugstore in 1979. Hoping my mom wouldn’t catch me, I snuck off to the “forbidden” magazine looking for Famous Monsters of Filmland. I had heard the movie Alien was […]

Gene Roddenberry Saw the Future…but the Future Is Asperger’s

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 2, 2017
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I am a psychologist who works with kids, teens, and families who are “on the spectrum.” Being “on the spectrum” means a person is considered Asperger’s or Autistic. As this is one of my specialties, I was invited by Dr. Travis Langley to contribute to his ongoing book series about psychology and pop-culture, more specifically […]

Child Abuse! A Psychologist’s Perspective on Daddy0Five


  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • April 20, 2017
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I am a child psychologist, and last week I posted an article entitled, How to Scare an Intern. I discussed what makes a prank benign and humorous versus harmful and how we use pranks to build relationships rather than hurt them. By accident, I recently witnessed a so-called “prank video,” by a YouTuber named DaddyOFive […]

A Psychologist’s Take on Why We Prank

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • April 14, 2017
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I have pretty much always been a prankster. And scaring people has been my specialty. But at what point do prank’s cross the line? The psychologist, Dr. David Verhaagen, describes pranks and humor as finding the line between violating a person or subject but making sure the violation is benign. The other characteristic of humor involves […]

Should Athletes and Teams Refuse To Visit the White House? (POLL)

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • April 6, 2017
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Traditionally, if you win a championship, you get a trip to the White House. Even if you held an opposing political view, you accepted the invitation. Liberal Democrats visited President Bush, and conservative Republicans visited President Obama. But with the current adminitration, the idea of visiting President Trump is giving people pause. We continue to […]

Why I Hate Duke: A Psychologist’s Perspective

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • March 3, 2017
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Hate is a rather strong word but when it comes to Duke, probably not strong enough. My first dog’s name was Tarheel and I graduated with three degrees from The University of North Carolina. Thus, I am not biased at all. And I think there are significant psychological reasons why most sane human beings hate […]

Trump, Narcissism, and the Ability to Lead: A Psychologist Responds

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • February 16, 2017
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An open letter to the editor was posted in the New York Times by a man I hold in the highest esteem. Dr. Allen Frances speaks clearly to all psychologists and psychiatrists who would “diagnose” Donald Trump. We are not to diagnose him. To label him as having narcissistic personality disorder is not appropriate, and […]

Will The Movie “Split” Get Multiple Personality Disorder Right?

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • January 18, 2017
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I am a child psychologist. However, during my doctoral internship, I had the opportunity to work with adults who were diagnosed with a multitude of issues including genetic disorders, schizophrenia, and severe autism. During internship, I experienced my first patient who was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. This patient was absolutely endearing and not only […]

Must See Movies of 2017

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • January 12, 2017
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I can’t recall the year in which I have been more disappointed in movies than I was in 2016. I’m not clear if the failure of the 2016 films was due to superhero fatigue as much as it was just bad storytelling. Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad were two movies widely panned but both […]

Top 10 Interviews by Howard Stern in 2016

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 23, 2016
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In my opinion, Howard Stern is the number one interviewer in the history of media. What makes him the best? I believe it’s years of therapy, becoming fully self-actualized, and being insanely curious about people. Guests lower their guard and revealing interviews I have ever heard. On top of that, his humor and self-revelations also […]

Why Am I So Obsessed With Star Wars?

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 5, 2016
  • 0
I am a child and family psychologist and my office is filled with memorabilia from Star Wars. I have a rare IG-88(with his weapon and box) as well as six Ultimate Collector Series Lego sets. I have upwards of 50 Darth Vader characters and my office resembles that of the bridge of a Star Destroyer. […]

A Psychologist Lists the Top 10 Movies about Asperger’s and the Autism Spectrum

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • November 16, 2016
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I am a child psychologist who specializes in the area of Asperger’s. People who have Asperger’s tend to be above average in intelligence, demonstrate a special interest in a particular subject, and possess a deficit in social and nonverbal communication. All people who are Asperger’s—or Aspie for short—are different from one another. However, they do share […]

A Psychologist’s Take on Why We Love The Walking Dead…

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • October 17, 2016
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AMC’s The Walking Dead devours 19.1 million viewers nearly every episode. Robert Kirkman and the writers of the TWD have built a formula which draws in viewers and explains the show’s success. We are unconscious of the formula, but the equation explains why so many rabid fans follow the show. To know why we watch The Walking Dead, you need […]

A Psychologist’s Take on How to Win Fantasy Football

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • October 3, 2016
  • 1
I’m playing fantasy football. And I’m stuck in an airport in Denver headed back home to Charlotte. The Carolina Panthers (my favorite team) are about to take the field. And as chance would have it, the man sitting on the barstool next to me is headed to Charlotte as well. But being in Denver, there’s […]

Why We Love R2-D2 and Other Robots

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • August 15, 2016
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The sadness I felt with the passing of Kenny Baker the actor who plated R2-D2) took me by surprise. When celebrities die, I typically experience nostalgia and fond memories. But when we lost Kenny Baker I felt we lost even more. For me, R2-D2 died as well. So why was this so different? The concept […]

Stephen King embracing Asperger’s: The Psychology of End of Watch

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • July 22, 2016
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The greatest first sentence of any book I have ever read is, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.” My favorite number is 19, and I obsessively add up license plates until they reach the number 19. Stephen King has built amazing worlds for us to explore. I love the […]

A Psychologist’s Take on Our Fear of Sharks

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • July 7, 2016
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“Martin, it’s all psychological. You yell ‘Barracuda!’ everybody says, ‘Huh? What?’ You yell shark, we’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.” –Mayor Vaughn (JAWS) I saw the movie JAWS in the theaters when it was first released. I was 7, and the film was PG. There was no PG-13 back […]

The Lobster Psychologically Messes With Your Head!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 24, 2016
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The Lobster: Solid A In my opinion, movies should be about an emotional connection or experience built around a story concluding with catharsis or resolution. But then…I saw The Lobster. (No spoilers by the way) The film depicts a dystopian future where partnered couples must always be paired. In the event of losing a partner, […]

A Psychologist’s Perspective on Elon Musk: The Real Life Iron Man

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 22, 2016
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  Check out “The Shrink Tank Podcast Ep.43: Psychology of Elon Musk” to hear more about Elon Musk! To study Elon Musk is to see the future. Comparisons between Iron Man and the Billionaire, Tech Inventor are obvious. Rocket technology, massive solar farms, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and rapid hyper-loop transport all sound like they […]

The Psychology of Superheroes, with Dr. Travis Langley, Superherologist

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 16, 2016
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I am a psychologist. And in my first session with a family, “What’s your favorite superhero?” is always an important question. I think it’s probably a fairly common conversation topic these days given the flood of superhero movies. And based on my question and if you are astute, the answer can tell you a great […]

Marguerite Comeau: An Interview with an Asperger’s Model

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 13, 2016
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Asperger’s sometimes gets a bad rap. All Aspies are different but the unfortunate stereotype is that they are introverted, clumsy, weird, rude, “low-functioning,” or do not like people. The hurtful and prejudiced stereotype could not be further from the truth and Marguerite Comeau is one shining example of how wrong the stereotype can be. I […]

The Top 5 Scenes in Silence of the Lambs

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • February 14, 2016
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“It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Silence of the Lambs Silence of the Lambs is the ultimate love story and arguably the greatest serial killer film of all time. The film depicts the development of one of the most intimate film relationships […]

The Psychology of Pokémon: The 20th Anniversary

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • February 7, 2016
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Nintendo kicks off a year of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pokémon with a highly visible Super Bowl 50 commercial. This is the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, and to date, the Pokémon franchise has made $30 billion dollars! That’s with a “B!” Why has this pocket monster game become a constant niche in society? The […]

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Review

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • February 5, 2016
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Two male shrinks that moonlight as film critics went to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies together.  One went for the period romance.  The other went for the undead.  What’s weird about that?  They saw the film together, but did they have the same experience?  Here is their review. Jonathan Hetterly – I don’t exactly know how […]

Why The Reboot of the X-Files is Ingenious

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • February 1, 2016
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When I was a kid, it was impossible for me to have a sleepover. I blame this on the X-Files. Or more accurately the precursor to the X-Files which was “Project U.F.O.”  The premise of the show was that the truth was out there and it was meant to be found. For me, the truth […]

The Most Shocking Stories of 2015

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 23, 2015
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In traditional news stories, the bad news is highlighted for the same reason people stop to stare at a car wreck. Scary stories and bad news elevates our nervous system and stimulates our senses. For this reason, on local news channels you still see lead off stories of fires, shootings, and murders. Some have suggested […]

The Best YouTube Videos of 2015

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 22, 2015
  • 1
We love viral videos! Men are more likely to share videos evoking disgust or shock while women tend to share videos evoking joy. In a study reviewing why viral videos spread, all viral videos included the emotional component of surprise. Half of all videos on Youtube have fewer than 500 views. A tiny fraction of […]

Spoiler Free! It’s better than you can imagine: A Review of The Force Awakens

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 18, 2015
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On Thursday, December 17 at 7:15 PM my mind was blown. I was able to see Star Wars, The Force Awakens with 270 of my closest friends as we had rented out the entire theater. With my family by my side, I was able to experience again the joy and awe of a Star Wars […]

In the Heart of the Sea: A Movie Review

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 3, 2015
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Grade: C In the Heart of the Sea attempts to be an epic adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s true recounting of the events surrounding the sinking of the whaleship Essex (In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex). Philbrick’s novel is a masterpiece which is a riveting and heart-wrenching tale of a […]

The Best Video Games of 2015

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • December 1, 2015
  • 1
In 1955, the U.S. Senate blasted comic books, deploring their depiction of every horrible thing from murder to cannibalism. The lawmakers heard from a prominent psychiatrist who singled out the Superman comic books as especially “injurious to the ethical development of children” because they “arouse phantasies [sic] of sadistic joy” in our youth. Another witness […]

Is this the Next Hunger Games?

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • November 17, 2015
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Filtered, by G. K. Lamb, is not your typical dystopian future story. Lamb’s first book in the thrilling trilogy is born out of his experiences within the military. Experiencing firsthand the reality of a government which can convince a population of an impending, fictitious war. The government’s intent? To control and subdue a population. We […]

Proof That Psychologists are Crazy: Mixed Shrinks

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • November 5, 2015
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When someone suggested a book of funny stories from therapists, we fired that person immediately. It’s obviously a terrible idea, but inexplicably, we still decided to do it. Therapists are a notoriously uptight bunch. True story: a team of researchers put lumps of coal up the butts of 100 psychologists and they opened a Zales […]

Scariest Movie Trailers of All Time

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • October 27, 2015
  • 1
This is my favorite time of year. Falling leaves, pumpkins, and terror! While my kiddos aren’t old enough to appreciate these films, I’m very excited for the time that I can share with them the history of fear in film. Scary movies are like roller coasters. We ride them over and over knowing how we […]

Oregon We are With You. And Asperger’s is not the Scapegoat

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • October 13, 2015
  • 3
Nowhere in this article will you see his or other names. Yes. Another shooting. Again an unimaginable tragedy strikes while lawmakers stand by and allow killings to continue. Of course this is gun legislation, but more importantly, this is mental health. In most shootings, the murderer is described as an isolated individual who is angry, […]

REDRUM: Happy 35th Stephen King!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • October 2, 2015
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Happy 35th anniversary to Stephen King’s, The Shining! I remember jokes when I was a kid about “Redrum,” but I really had no idea what this phrase meant. Throughout the years, I would see Stephen King’s books in the library, but they seemed daunting and far less interesting than my Asimov fixation. But then I […]

World War I, Germany, ISIS, and 9/11: A Review of Erik Larson’s, Dead Wake

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • August 28, 2015
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I am a little late to Erik Larson’s bandwagon. His books consistently appear on the New York Times bestseller list, but my first introduction to him was this summer’s release of Dead Wake, an historical narrative about the sinking of the 800 foot long Lusitania in May of 1915. This book is absolutely fantastic! I […]

Yes Bryan Fuller, Hannibal’s Will Graham is an Aspie

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • July 1, 2015
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Hannibal is canceled. Yep. It’s over and will be ending this Fall in its third season, Bryan Fuller’s adaptation of the story of Hannibal Lector and his early friendship with Will Graham also ends his relationship with NBC. The cancellation appears to be related to the content rights of Clarice Starling rather than to the […]

Geeks are Mainstream!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 26, 2015
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We came, we saw, we Geeked out! HeroesCon descended upon Charlotte on Father’s Day as it always has since 1982. It’s one of the biggest comic book conventions in the United States, and it’s attendance evolution has been extraordinary. This weekend Stan Lee made his third appearance and cosplayers were out in force. Back in 2010 […]

An Aspie Review of Jurassic World!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 24, 2015
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I’m a psychologist who specializes in the realm of Asperger’s and Autism. One of my clients’ special interest is film. His future life goal is to own a movie theater and he loves, loves, loves reviewing films. I asked him to review Jurassic World for my blog and here it is! Jurassic World, while not as […]

Top 8 Movie Trailers of All Time!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • June 3, 2015
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Movie trailers have become a huge part of the movie going experience. Sneak trailers, spoiler alerts, and rumors about upcoming movies build ridiculous excitement for upcoming blockbuster films. The power of the trailer lies within this slow building intensity culminating in sound effects and music as well as logarithmically intensifying scenes which build up your […]

NASCAR Doesn’t Suck

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 24, 2015
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Despite being born within listening distance of the Martinsville Motor Speedway, I never watched a NASCAR race. That is until I met a former neighbor of mine, Casey Mears. I kind of thought stock car racing was about who could build the fastest car which translated meant who had the most money to build the […]

Charlize Theron: Fury Road

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 16, 2015
  • 0
4 Reasons I Hated Mad Max Disclaimer: I am a hardcore Mad Max fan and had very high expectations for this film. Also, I’m so over the whole, “Well, it’s a summer fun movie thing.” I want a really good movie! And I was counting on this being my summer movie much like Guardians of […]

10,000 hours: Trains, Ships, and Asperger’s

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 6, 2015
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It’ s really only been within the last 5 years that I feel I fully understand Asperger’s.  Spotting my Aspies has become easier and easier over the years, and I owe a great deal of that “train spotting” to my Dad.  My dad passed away several years ago, and getting back home can be difficult. […]

4 Quick Family Ways to Truly Celebrate Star Wars Day!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • May 3, 2015
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1.  Watch all 3 original trailers with your kiddos to give them a glimpse into your own childhood and how movies used to be hyped! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kd5_WzYcH0 2.  Share with your family the first time you experienced Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope. If you saw it in 1977 share every detail of how this movie […]

Spock Has Asperger’s

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • April 2, 2015
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Kirk: Well, Mr. Spock, if we can’t disguise you, we’ll find some way of explaining you. Spock: That should prove interesting. Spock is high on logic, struggles with a limited understanding of social interaction, wears the same blue shirt, and has a highly specialized job as Science Officer on the Enterprise. Many speak of Asperger’s as […]

Aspie and Autistic People Will Be the First to Colonize Mars

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • March 5, 2015
  • 0
I recently stumbled across The Martian, by Andy Weir. In this amazing, “science non-fiction” novel, we follow the multi-year trials of an astronaut left stranded and assumed dead on Mars. I’m a total science geek, and this book absolutely held me to the last page. It was funny, smart, and gripping. An important premise of […]

Guardians of the Galaxy Gives us our First Asperger’s Superhero!

  • by Dr. Frank Gaskill
  • January 27, 2015
  • 2
I love watching popular culture embrace, either knowingly or unknowingly, the awesomeness of Asperger’s. Without Asperger’s we wouldn’t have Apple Computers, XBOX, Facebook, or even electricity. And it turns out, Asperger’s helped propel Marvel to one of its greatest box office smashes in history. They have introduced the first truly Aspie superhero in Drax, the […]