Psychology of CosPlay

There have been many media outlets that have discussed the psychology of Cosplayers from an onlooker point of view. Cosplay and Cosplayers have been described as "enabling a world of makebelieve," and "encouraging exploitative sexuality." New York Comic Con recently asked psychologists and Cosplayers to join in a panel discussion of the psychology of Cosplaying and Cosplayers based upon research and questionnaires rather than from the onlooker perspective. The panel included:

 Andrea Letamendi professional psychologist and cosplayer!  She is the owner of

Bill Doran professional cosplay props builder! You can see his online shop at

Holly Conrad is a professional cosplayer (and I think women's activist!) You can find her online at

Host, Jenna Busch, can be found online at

Jill Pantozzi is a cosplayer and blogger who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at age 2.  She currently cosplays with her wheelchair! She's a rockstar woman!  She is a contributing blogger at and can be found on her own online domain

Dr. Robin Rosenberg is a psychologist with over 25 years experience.  She has written numerous books on Superheroes and the psychology they present both as a character type and as an effect upon society.  You can find more about her work at

 Here are some highlights from the panel:

1) There has been no connection made between psychological disorder or development and people who cosplay.

2) There have been studies conducted that show people who wear masks have a change in the way they feel about themselves.  Participants of these studies report that they feel less like themselves when wearing a mask.  For Cosplayers, this research shows to be the opposite! Cosplayers feel more like themselves or feel no change in self identity when wearing a mask. Rock on! Cosplayers tend to be more self-confident and self-aware.  There's been no evidence that there are any social inequities in Cosplayers.

3) 44% of Cosplayers surveyed say that they cosplay 2-5 times per year.  Comic Con.Convention goers who said they do dress up (Cosplay), 40% of those coordinate with a group cosplay 2-5 times a year! A group is any 2+ people Cosplaying within the same fandom (i.e. going as multiple x-men characters)

4) Rule 63 of Cosplay: Rule 63 states that for every male character, there's a female version of that character, and with a female character, there's a male version of the character.  Rule 63 is often used to describe both Crossplay as well as character traits of a cosplayed character (similar to a FOIL in literature).

Interested in hearing more?  Below is the full panel on YouTube.  Fair Warning: it is about an hour long, but I listened to it like I listen to a podcast.  Though there are visuals, they are not necessary to understanding the discussion.

Happy Hump Day, and happy listening.  Until next week, stay exceptionally chic and exquisitely geek!

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