The UCLan Psychologist’s ‘Science of Superheroes’ Guide to Improving Children’s Wellbeing

Artwork created for the wellness supplement “Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes”

A UCLan psychologist has teamed up with a mental health trust to write a superhero-themed wellness guide for older children and young adults.


Following the success Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes, one of the authors published a wellness supplement with Cameron Grant Memorial Trust to help young people.

Unmasked, co-authored by seven practicing UCLan scientists, reveals the scientific realities behind famous comic book legends and movies.

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Dr. Sarita Robinson as a superhero as part of the wellness supplement “Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes”

Dr Sarita Robinson, author and expert in behavioral psychobiology, said: “We have great advice for taking care of our physical health, but less is known about practical ways to take care of our mental well-being.

“Superhero Science provides age-appropriate advice and guidance for children and young adults on how to take care of their mental health.

“Using superhero examples in our new online guide allows us to engage children and young adults in an engaging and enjoyable way.”

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Dr Robinson said talking about how friends can get us through tough times with examples of superhero teams helps bring the subject to life.

The guide continues the theme by using superheroes to illustrate how science and young people’s mental health work.

The free online resource, now available for download, was funded by the Cameron Grant Memorial Trust.

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It addresses issues such as stress, anxiety and ways to manage it, better sleep to improve mental health, and methods of coping during difficult times.

Dr Robinson said: “This online guide aims to encourage young people to open up and talk about their mental health and to refer them to other services if they are facing more serious mental health problems.

“We hope the Science of Superheroes – Wellbeing Edition – will help and support young people, especially after the challenges of the pandemic.”

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In the guide, readers learn what helps Thor feel better after the fall of Asgard, how the Hulk deals with anxiety, and how Batman deals with the stress of being a superhero.

It also highlights how lack of sleep affects Mr. Incredible and how Captain America mentally benefits from exercise.

Evan Grant, Chairman of the Trustees of the Cameron Grant Memorial Trust, said: “Our aim is to help anyone in mental distress and especially young people to speak up and seek help.

“We are continually looking for new ways to encourage people to open up and talk about their feelings. We love the idea of ​​using superheroes to do this and are thrilled to support this project.

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Unmasked – The Science of Superheroes was published in 2020 by UCLan Publishing.

The book draws on computer science, engineering, math, physics, biology and psychology to explain the science behind popular superhero powers, with each of the seven authors being transformed into superheroes in the pages to reflect the different types of superpowers.

Success led to working with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as part of the Reading Agency’s Reading Sparks program. The book has been recognized as a title offered to struggling families.

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The superpowered team of authors assembled by UCLan consists of Professor Robert Walsh alongside Dr Sarita Robinson, Nicky Danino, Dr Catherine Tennick, Dr Matthew Dickinson, Adam Wilcox and Dr Sylvy Anscombe.

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