Cognition, Intelligence and Language

Ep 212: The Psychology of The Matrix Movie


What are the psychological themes in the movie The Matrix? In this episode I talk about connections between The Matrix and Jung‘s idea of the Collective Unconscious, Joseph Campbell‘s notion of the Hero’s Journey and some recent research that explains why you experience déjà vu. Also, can you change your whole world by thinking differently about it? Let’s find out what psychologists (well at least me) think about this fascinating movie.

Resources for this Episode

    • Brown, A. S. (2004). The déjà vu illusion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13(6), 256-259.
    • Cleary, A. M. (2008). Recognition memory, familiarity, and déjà vu experiences. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(5), 353-357.


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    January 10, 2014

    I also find that hard to follow and didn't quite get the Matrix sequels but I like Doomroar's explanation of it being Neo's dream.
    My question was: How do we know it's not just the Matrix "telling" Neo he's been released from the Matrix? To paraphrase Pontius Pilate: "What is real?"
    If you like Carrie Anne Moss in that then you should also like her in Memento.

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    January 10, 2014

    Uhh…that's hard to follow. I do remember some talk about "versions" of the matrix in movie 2 or 3. Let me ask this: Is this your interpretation or your additions to the storyline?

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    January 10, 2014

    Morpheus can not be the one because this is Neo's fantasy, he never leaves the Matrix.
    The Matrix is multy-layered, not only that but it also works by versions, the one in which Neo is living (his emulation) is the six Matrix, and the problem programmed for his fantasy is that he has to save the state of degeneration the Matrix is suffering which is the mission that the oracles gave him, on the other hand and at the same time he is helping the revels to attack the Matrix in this moment of weakness, but all of this is happening inside the Matrix so nothing is really happening. Lets say that the Matrix is a giant bubble with more bubbles inside and each one of those has a cluster of bubbles inside of them, each one of those is a level, some are parallel others are higher or lower, at best Neo travels 2 levels apart from the initial one, but he never "leaves" the Matrix, he just passes from one plane/level to another, and this also explains his powers while he is supposed to be outside the Matrix.

    Of course this also means that there is no Morpheus, or anything else, yet he is happy, since he is living his dream of being "the one", a pleasant escape from his monotonous life, he is now able to fulfill his desires.

    Another way of interpreting this is that the emulation of Neo as the one, is a prototype emulation that is being tested by the Matrix, as an alternative to replace the traditional program of emulating a normal and average life, again in this version Morpheus as well as everyone else is just part of this emulation.

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