Belcourt Theatre Nashville, TN


David Zald

Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University

The Babadook— Fear in the body

Neuroscience and psychology expert David Zald explains and demonstrates the science of fear, hooking a lucky audience member up to psychophysiological recording equipment that monitors body reactions to fear during an intense film clip and analyzing the results live.

Belcourt Theatre Nashville, TN

Film Synopsis

A mysterious and unsettling children's book forces a grieving widow to confront her resentment of her imaginative young son—and the possibility that his terrifying nightmares might be real.

Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia is at a loss. She struggles to discipline her 'out of control' six-year-old, Samuel, a son she finds impossible to love. Samuel's dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called The Babadook turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he's been dreaming about. His hallucinations spiral out of control, he becomes more unpredictable and violent. Amelia, genuinely frightened by her son's behaviour, is forced to medicate him. But when Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, it slowly dawns on her that the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.

Photo courtesy of PHOTOFEST

About the Speaker

David Zald is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, where he also directs the Affective Neuroscience Laboratory and the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience for Undergraduates. Zald’s primary research aims to understand how the brain processes emotion and how individual differences in specific brain circuits are related to personality, emotional experience, and mental health problems.