The psychology of Homer Simpson, Image retrieved from Ruffpoker
Part 1 – Physiological Aspects
Hi, I’m Julian Pearce, you may remember me from such psychological profiles as Patrick Bateman of American Psycho: A profile. This is part one of a two part profile on popular television character Homer Jay Simpson from The Simpsons. I feel I should state that I’m a long-time fan of this show, with most of my enthusiasm directed at seasons 1-9 (3-9 if I get really picky). I’ve watched basically all of the episodes within that time period multiple times, some –like ‘Homer Goes to College’ and various ‘Treehouse of Horror’ specials– more than I care to admit publicly. I just felt it was important to express this before getting stuck into the profile.
There is an abundance of content I could spool through and discuss about Homer, in particular his behaviour (that will be part two), and I will likely miss little facts some of you hardcore fans are likely to pluck from your encyclopaedic brains, so forgive me in advance. The point of this is to, well…there kind of isn’t really a point, I just wanted to write this for my own entertainment, hopefully that amusement will transfer to you. Anyway, let us begin.
The physical abuse Homer Jay Simpson’s brain has received would have likely killed a normal human; not to mention the alcohol and dietary abuse his body endures on a daily basis. It is inexplicable how Homer is a) alive, and b) not brain-dead. Taking a scan of his brain would likely provide an anatomical map of sorts; a way to understand exactly why Homer Simpson is alive, and, furthermore, why he is the way he is. The perusal of aforementioned scans would soon provide some explanations to the mystery that is Homer Simpson.
Here’s what I think I’d find:
Spooling through the unusually cushioned depths of Homer Jay Simpson’s brain, I find a single blue crayon lodged in his frontal lobe. Now, for those not schooled on the functions of each area of the brain, the frontal lobe is in charge of thinking, planning, organising, problem solving, and emotional/behavioural control. For those not schooled on Homer Simpson, he has difficulty thinking, planning, organising, problem solving, and has a lot of trouble controlling his emotions and behaviour. Interestingly, I realise Homer’s crayon mishap is not too unlike the fascinating case of Phineas Gage. He also pierced his brain with a foreign object and lived to tell the tale, although his case is slightly more graphic (just slightly). Reportedly, his behaviour underwent a drastic change: Gage went from hard-working, responsible and well-liked, to “gross, profane, coarse, and vulgar to such a degree that his society was intolerable to decent people.” When Homer’s crayon was removed using Moe’s Crayola Oblongata procedure, his IQ went up from 55 to 105, and he became a respected member of society — except for when he accidentally proved there is no God while doing his taxes.
Still from FOX’s The Simpsons, ‘HOMR‘ Season 12, Episode 9
Phineas Gage, Image retrieved from United Academics
Moving further into the genetic makings of one Homer Jay Simpson, I discover he falls victim to a couple of genetic syndromes. Most interestingly, he has a unique genetic syndrome named after him. The Homer Simpson Syndrome relates to an unusually thick layer of fluid surrounding his brain, which is said to be the reason why he has not suffered significant brain damage from his lifetime of calamities and painful pummellings. How this syndrome differs from hydrocephalus –which is basically the same thing as the Homer Simpson Syndrome, only, you know, real– I do not know, but it’s curious nonetheless. Hydrocephalus can cause a number of issues in those who suffer from the condition, including an enlarged head, convulsion, and mental disability. It is plain to see, Homer has a large cranium; whether or not this is a result of his suffering of Homer Simpson Syndrome, it is impossible to tell. Homer does indeed show signs of deficit in the intellectual department, though it may be explained by my next point.
Still from FOX’s The Simpsons, ‘Lisa the Simpson‘ Season 9, Episode 17
Homer also suffers from the ill-fated Simpson Gene. This gene results in progressive deterioration of cognitive faculties –in particular, intelligence. The negative effects of this gene only afflict Simpson’s on the Y chromosome. Thus is the reason why Abraham, Homer, and Bart alike are all spectacular failures, while Maggie and Lisa display signs of exceptional intelligence. Again, the Simpson Gene bears resemblance to real-life disorders, most particularly Fragile X Syndrome, which is a genetic syndrome, inherited mostly among males, resulting in intellectual deficits.
Homer’s brain has somehow withstood close to four decades of punishment. His thrill-seeking, reckless behaviour could be a result of his dwindling cognitive faculties, not to mention his inability to understand the consequences of his actions. Homer is very lucky his brain is surrounded by that layer of fluid, otherwise it is likely he would have succumbed to the consequences of his ridiculous lifestyle years ago. These decisions he makes, are they a result of that blue crayon in combination with the Simpson Gene? Nature or nurture? Great questions to ponder on while I dissect his behaviour in Part 2 of this profile, ‘Behaviour and Personality‘.
If you’re interested in Homer’s brain, perhaps you would be interested in your own brain and how subliminal perception affects it.
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