Traditional recipes

Walking Dead Beer Contains Actual Brains

Walking Dead Beer Contains Actual Brains

Zombie-theme beer brewed from actual smoked brains

Dock Street Brewery's new Walking Dead-themed beer is brewed with actual smoked goat brains.

Every so often someone has an idea for a beverage that is so horrible it circles right back around to being brilliant. First there was Malört. Now there is a Walking Dead-theme beer made from actual brains.

According to Gizmodo, Dock Street Brewing Co.’s new beer, Dock Street Walker, does not contain human brains because that would be extraordinarily illegal. It does, however, contain actual brain parts, because the beer is an American Pale Stout brewed with smoked goat brains.

Head brewer Justin Low also threw some organic cranberries in there, so the beer will be nice and red for optimal creepiness.

“Fuggle hops provide delicate, earthy notes, while the cranberries create a sinister, bloody hue, and a slight tartness,” Dock Street said in a press release. “The pre-sparge-brain-addition provides this beer with intriguing, subtle smoke notes. In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever.”

Whether or not anyone will want to drink the terrifying brew remains to be seen, but the beer debuts on March 30, which is the same day as the Walking Dead season finale.

The Walking Dead (TV series)

The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard—together forming the core of The Walking Dead franchise. The series features a large ensemble cast as survivors of a zombie apocalypse trying to stay alive under near-constant threat of attacks from zombies known as "walkers" (among other nicknames). However, with the collapse of modern civilization, these survivors must confront other human survivors who have formed groups and communities with their own sets of laws and morals, sometimes leading to open, hostile conflict between them.

  • Frank Darabont
  • David Alpert
  • Robert Kirkman
  • Denise Huth
  • Joseph Incaprera
  • Julius Ramsay
  • Hunter M. Via
  • Avi Youabian
  • Dan Liu
  • Nathan Gunn
  • Rachel Goodlett Katz
  • Kelley Dixon

Andrew Lincoln played the lead character of Rick Grimes until his departure at the end of the ninth season. Other long-standing cast members have included Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Josh McDermitt and Christian Serratos. The Walking Dead is produced by AMC Studios within the state of Georgia, with most filming taking place in the large outdoor spaces of Riverwood Studios near Senoia, Georgia. The series was initially adapted from the comic by Frank Darabont, who also served as the showrunner for the first season. However, conflicts between Darabont and AMC forced his departure from the series and resulted in multiple lawsuits by Darabont and others. Glen Mazzara, Scott M. Gimple, and Angela Kang have also served as showrunners.

The series is exclusively broadcast on AMC in the United States and internationally through the Fox Networks Group. The series premiered on October 31, 2010. The tenth season premiered on October 6, 2019, and has been renewed for an eleventh and final season. AMC have also further developed the series into related media a spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead, premiered on August 23, 2015, and is currently airing its sixth season. A second spinoff, a two-season limited series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, premiered on October 4, 2020. AMC announced plans for three films to follow Rick's story after Lincoln's departure. In 2020, two further spinoffs were announced: one focused on Reedus' and McBride's characters and an anthology series to feature individual character backstories.

Beginning with its third season, The Walking Dead has attracted the most 18- to 49-year-old viewers of any cable or broadcast television series, though viewership has declined in later seasons. In addition, the series has been overall positively received by critics. [5] It has been nominated for several awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama and the Writers Guild of America Award for New Series. [6] [7]

The Walking Dead will conclude in 2022 after the eleventh season commences airing on August 22, 2021. [8] [9]


Abraham is a reckless and brave survivor with a short temper and an equally profound wittiness. He was traumatized by the death of his family, which left him a broken man suffering from PTSD and recklessly suicidal tendencies. At the crux of his conflict: finding what it means to truly live. Despite his violent tendencies, Abraham is wise and thoughtful. At his best, he is providing insightful advice and council to his friends, lightening the mood, and pondering the future of mankind. At his worst, he is "grabbing the bull by the nut sack" and plunging himself into peril hoping for the thrill to provide him meaning. He is a living juxtaposition between recklessness and wisdom. In the end, he concludes that truly living is sacrificing for a future. Despite his rough, brash nature, Abraham greatly enjoys having fun, which he can find in killing walkers or admittedly, fighting other people, as noted by Tara Chambler, he smiles while killing the undead. His fun-loving side can also be seen in his evident sense of humor and peculiar choices of profanity, his most prominent personality quirk. He also loves alcohol and does not like to socialize.

In Season 4, during his first appearance, Abraham appears to be a rather hostile survivor. That can be shown after saving the lives of Glenn Rhee and Tara from walkers, as he tells Glenn that he should give up looking for his wife Maggie Rhee, pointing that she's probably dead by now and that helping him bring Eugene Porter to Washington, D.C. to save the whole world is a way more important mission than trying to save his wife. His statement causes a huge fight between the two men, with Abraham almost chocking Glenn to death. However, after Eugene breaks down the group's truck, Abraham agrees to travel alongside Glenn and Tara, in their mission to find Maggie and then head to Washington. After they finally find Maggie and her group, Eugene manages to convince Abraham to go to Terminus with the others, as they might be able to obtain supplies and recruit others at Terminus to come to Washington. In the road, Abraham and Glenn eventually become close allies and friends.

During Season 5, after the Survivors escapes from the Terminus, Abraham's original mission continues to be the same bringing Eugene to Washington, in order to find the cure for the outbreak. His obsession with this mission causes fights with his fellow survivors. At first, he is arguing with Rick Grimes about the mission he has on his shoulders, with Rick telling him that he's not going anywhere without his missing people and with Abraham responding that he tries to save not only the group's, but everyone's lives. However, on time processing Rick and the group agree to go to Washington with Abraham and he and Rick finally become friends. After Eugene lies to him about knowing the cure, Abraham becomes a broken man and thinks that everything is over, at least for a while. When he and the group arrive to Alexandria Safe-Zone, where he becomes head of the construction crew, Abraham tries to return to his normal life, after he realizes that he could actually make a new life there. After a while, Abraham forgives Eugene and tries to become friends with him once again.

By the start of Season 6, while he initially seems to adjust to being in the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Abraham's PTSD worsens during the quarry plan, as he begins to show suicidal tendencies, by taking on walkers that are splitting off from the herd. These tendencies also causes him to risk his life, either by falling or by being bitten, by trying to get an RPG that was stuck with a hanging walker, and his frustrations leads to him screaming at the walker. He is greatly intrigued by the prospect of starting a new family, both to carry on humanity and get through his funk. With time passing, Abraham slowly starts to have a love interest about Sasha Williams and he later decides that he actually wanted to make a relationship with her all this time. Eventually, he breaks up with Rosita Espinosa, as he truly wants to be with Sasha and maybe even make a family with her.

Even in the face of death, even if it is going to be a slow and painful death, Abraham is shown to be absolutely fearless and defiant when Negan Smith executes him by smashing his head multiple times with his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, "Lucille". In his final moments, Abraham dies a noble and courageous man who makes his final humorous words to his murderer, "Suck. my. nuts."

I am obsessed with The Walking Dead.

That&aposs right. I said it. OBSESSED. I own the entire series, and I make it a point to buy it as soon as I see it hit the shelf. When the latest season isn&apost airing (IS IT OCTOBER YET?!), I binge watch the show from start to finish—once a month. (And no, I don&apost think that&aposs excessive at all. My family on the other hand. well, that&aposs a different story.) I&aposve watched it so much, I&aposve unintentionally memorized pretty much all of the dialogue. We have a TWD trivi I am obsessed with The Walking Dead.

That's right. I said it. OBSESSED. I own the entire series, and I make it a point to buy it as soon as I see it hit the shelf. When the latest season isn't airing (IS IT OCTOBER YET?!), I binge watch the show from start to finish—once a month. (And no, I don't think that's excessive at all. My family on the other hand. well, that's a different story.) I've watched it so much, I've unintentionally memorized pretty much all of the dialogue. We have a TWD trivia game, but no one wants to play it with me because I always win. I like to point out little inconsistencies on episodes. (Example: "Chupacabra" [season two, episode five] After Daryl Dixon [Norman Reedus] is thrown from his horse, and hallucinates a conversation with his brother, Merle [Michael Rooker]? Pay attention to the dirt on Daryl's mouth. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not.)

Needless to say, when the opportunity came along to read an review copy of GUTS, I was all over it like the walkers who took out the Anderson family in "No Way Out" [season six, episode nine]. I was thrilled to be approved, and promptly tore into it like. well, you know. (And I swear, that is the last time I do that in this review. no more walker jokes. Promise!)

Vigna has put together a comprehensive guide to everything The Walking Dead. From how both the comic and the show came about, to season recaps and the rundown on its phenomenal ratings, and even a bit of philosophy, this book has it all. There are several areas in the book where the author gives detailed thoughts on particular events that happened during the show—such as Glenn Rhee's (Steven Yeun) miraculous escape from certain death by conveniently hiding under the dumpster after Nicholas' (Michael Traynor) commits suicide and causes them both to fall off the top of the dumpster into a hungry herd of walkers gathered below. His stance on why it shouldn't have happened and how the show broke its own 'rules' in order to pull it off was one of my favorite parts of the book because the dumpster-death-that-wasn't annoys the hell out of me every time I see it.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is how a goodly portion of it discusses things of the show that my family and I often talk about. Whether it's nitpicking little things (like the length of the grass) or discussing mistakes made by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in his role as leader, etc., it was nice to see many of those same topics in the book.

The chapter discussing a Walker Stalker convention in Charlotte, North Carolina was especially fun to read, because it gives the reader a peak into the sincere appreciation the cast members—such as Michael Cudlitz (Abraham Ford) and Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter), who were there that day—have for fans of the show, and how much they enjoy the time they spend talking to them. (And, likewise, the regard the fans have for the cast members.) Reading about (or better still, experiencing for yourself, if you're fortunate enough to do so) such genuine warmth and appreciation just makes you feel good as a fan.

There is SO much more to the book than the few things I've touched on in this review. Suffice to say that in this reader's opinion, GUTS: THE ANATOMY OF THE WALKING DEAD would make for a fine addition to your TWD collection. It's a must have for fans!

So now there are two things to look forward to in October. This book, and the long-awaited start to season eight!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Dey Street Books and Edelweiss. . more


The Whisperers are a group of unknown size who have adopted the ideology that humanity is to return to its most animalistic roots, living in the wild and following a societal hierarchy similar to that of wolves, with an "Alpha" as their one true pack leader. As such, The Whisperers are also fiercely territorial and will kill anyone who treads into any land they see as their own. Through a process of skinning killed walkers and possibly other dead bodies and curing the 'leather' in order to prevent contamination, Whisperers craft and don full-head masks that allow them to blend into herds and guide them like sheep for strategic or defensive benefits.

The internet reacts to the surprise finale of the original Walking Dead

Polygon put a couple big finales on our list of Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, but it turns out we missed the biggest one: The Walking Dead. This week’s The Walking Dead #193 was the final comic in the series, a fact that writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard managed to keep a secret until the day of its release.

In order to disguise that the comic was coming to an end, Kirkman and Adlard arranged with Walking Dead publisher Image Comics to advertise three more issues, complete with cover art, to retailers. This created the illusion that the series would continue until at least The Walking Dead #196, and presumably longer.

“Personally . I hate knowing what’s coming,” Kirkman said in a letter at the end of The Walking Dead #193. “As a fan, I hate it when I realize I’m in the third act of a movie and the story is winding down. I hate that I can count commercial breaks and know I’m nearing the end of a TV show. I hate that you can feel when you’re getting to the end of a book, or a graphic novel [. ]

The Walking Dead has always been built on surprise. Not knowing what’s going to happen when you turn the page, who’s going to die, how they’re going to die . it’s been essential to the success of this series. It’s been the lifeblood that’s been keeping it going all these years, keeping people engaged. It just felt wrong and against the very nature of this series not to make the actual end as surprising as all the big deaths . from Shane all the way to Rick.”

The Walking Dead #1 hit shelves in 2003, and since then the series has bloomed into a true trans-media empire, spawning multiple TV shows, video games, and more. The comic may not have been as popular today as it once was, but was still a top seller for Image Comics, ranking in the top 30 best selling comics every month of 2019 so far.

So this is surprising, to say the least. But fans —on Reddit, at least — seem to be taking it well, though they differed on whether keeping it a secret enhanced or detracted from their enjoyment.

“While I wish the ending wasn’t a surprise,” Domand2002 shared (link contains spoilers), “and not exactly a fan of it ending around this time in the story (especially after what happened last issue) I definitely like how it ended. [. ] Wish it went on longer and we could still have this series continue for many more years but if it is it’s time to end, well I appreciate everything that went into The Walking Dead! This series was amazing, emotional, and awesome! Thank you Robert Kirkman! ”

However, the second most upvoted comment on r/TheWalkingDead’s official thread on The Walking Dead #193, from TheGent316, reads:

“I’ve gotta say that while I respect Kirkman’s intent I’m glad I got spoiled that this was going to be the last issue. If I spent the whole issue thinking this was an amazing set up to a whole new storyline I’d have been pissed when I saw “THE END” rather than just enjoying the story.”

Meanwhile, other folks were just having a good time with jokes about the surprise ending. From Jonathan Hickman, soon to be the writer on Marvel’s X-Men:

I have no idea what’s next for all those Walking Dead dudes, but having your book cancelled unexpectedly is always tough.

Hang in there, guys. One day it’s going to happen for you! Fingers crossed.

— Jonathan Hickman (@JHickman) July 3, 2019

From Chip Zdarsky, writer of Spider-Man, Howard the Duck, and Jughead:

I think my new Image book, "The Walking Dead #194," is going to do QUITE well

— Let's Talk Chip Zdarsky (@zdarsky) July 4, 2019

Others riffed off of a CNN tweet that mistakenly referred to The Walking Dead as a Marvel Comic:

Can't believe Marvel closed Vertigo and ended The Walking Dead in the same month. End of an era.

— David Harper (@slicedfriedgold) July 3, 2019

This isn’t right. The truth is people petitioned Netflix to end Good Omens, and they said they would if Amazon ended Stranger Things, Amazon said they would if I ended Walking Dead, and I said I would if Kirkman ended #DCeased. Pretty simple.

— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) July 3, 2019

See, the joke here is that a petition was drawn up to ask that Netflix cancel Good Omens, when Good Omens is actually an Amazon Prime show — so the Amazon Prime Video twitter account joked that it would “cancel” Netflix’s Stranger Things if Netflix canceled Good Omens — and Tom Taylor is writing the DC Comics zombie series DCeased.

Kirkman himself has not tweeted since the news hit. But in his final letter, he seemed positive, saying “Oddly, as unsure as I feel about ending the story, I feel confident in how I ended it. I’ve been building to this for years, and it does feel good to end on [Ed. note: We’ve omitted the end of this sentence to keep from spoiling you].”

You can read the entirety of Kirkman’s letter at The Hollywood Reporter (though the post contains some spoilers), or pick up a copy of The Walking Dead #193.

Animals Share an Evolutionary History

Not only humans have brains, of course. Almost all animals have a nervous system of some kind (only sponges do not). The brains of different animals are different in some ways but similar in many other ways. This is because all life on the planet shares a history: all animals evolved from common ancestors, so they inherited some of the characteristics from these ancestors. This is like a brother and a sister who are alike because they have the same parents, first cousins who have the same grandparents, second cousins who share great-grandparents, and so on. All life shares a great-great-great-grandparent in the distant past.

We can use these similarities and differences between animals to put the animals together into groups. Two birds—say, an eagle and a parrot—have more in common than an eagle and a monkey. And they are closer relatives. In a family, this would be like saying that a brother is more like his sister than he is like his cousin. A brother and a sister have the same parents, but with their cousin they only share the same grandparents, further back. Still, all mammals have fur and produce milk to feed their young. Every bird has feathers and lays eggs. And these similarities between close relatives appear in their brains, too.

Each species has their different habits: a monkey jumps from branch to branch until it finds some fruit to eat, a bat flies around in the dark of the night between trees, a whale swims in the wide open ocean. Since the brains of these animals help them to do all these tasks, we would guess that their brains would be very different. But it turns out that the main parts of the brain and the connections within the brain are all pretty much the same for all mammals. This similarity in brain structure exists because of the evolutionary history that all these brains share.

In fact, if we put brains of different mammals next to each other, the similarities are easy to spot. Even though the brains vary (a lot) in their size and in their folds, they all have the same parts. All these brains have a cerebral cortex, a cerebellum, and a brain stem (see Figure 1B). Also, the same kinds of cells make up all brains: they are made of neurons, glial cells, and the cells that make the capillaries (small blood vessels) that bring blood into the brain (Figure 1A). Neurons transmit information to other neurons through their branches, across connections called synapses. Glial cells are of three kinds. Microglia are the immune system in the brain. Oligodendrocytes wrap the branches of the neurons and make information move faster from one neuron to the next. Astrocytes do a lot of things, keeping everything in order𠅏rom helping neurons make synapses to providing them with nutrients.

  • Figure 1
  • A. All brains have two connected sides, called the right and left hemispheres. In the figure, you see the inside of the right hemisphere of a human brain. The main colored parts are the cerebral cortex, the cerebellum, and the brainstem. The cerebral cortex, the “thinking part” of the brain, is where things like speech, planning, emotions, and problem-solving take place. Depending on the species, the cerebral cortex can be smooth or full of folds (like ours, in the figure). The cerebellum looks like a small brain and also has folds. Keeping proper posture, balance and doing delicate, careful movements are all tasks involving the cerebellum. So are thinking and handling emotions. The brainstem is the region that connects the whole brain with the body, through several nerves and the spinal cord, and controls vital automatic movements such as breathing, digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure. B.Neurons (in gold)—they receive, process, and send information to other neurons. Axons (the �les” from one neuron to another) are wrapped by oligodendrocyte cells (blue), which create a coating, much like the rubber around electric wires, that insulates axons and helps signals be conducted from one neuron to the next more quickly. Astrocytes (red) have lots of functions. Scientists thought, at first, that all astrocytes did was fill in the space between neurons, holding them apart and giving them something like a “skeleton” on the outside. But now, we know that astrocytes do much more: they feed neurons, control the formation of the contacts between neurons (the synapses) and how they function, control the concentration of many substances in the space outside the cells, and repair injuries. Finally, microglia (purple) detect and destroy strange cells and particles that do not belong in the brain, protecting it, like the immune system protects the rest of the body.

IZombie's 10 Best Brains

The major conceit of iZombie, the lovely and addictive CW show about a zombie, her friends, and the crimes they solve, is that the main character eats the brains of murdered people and then starts to act like them. This means that star Rose McIver has a fairly huge acting challenge every week—and some weeks are harder than others.

This isn’t so much a compilation of our favorite episodes—or even of the episodes you must watch before season three premieres tomorrow. (Tip: watch as many of them as you can. They’re on Netflix.) No, this is a list of iZombie’s very best brains.

10) Clive Jordan, “Method Head”

In “Method Head,” an actor on Liv’s favorite TV show—Zombie High, natch—dies when a prop knife gun (oops, sorry) is substituted for a real one. Liv eats Jordan’s brain and almost instantly becomes a walking stereotype of actors. She talks about finding “truth” and how to access real emotions for characters. The whole joke was the show making fun of itself and the industry it’s a part of, and it is great. Plus, Liv’s apple-eating mime deserves a 10 out of 10.

9) The Fog, “Cape Town”

Liv eats the brain of a costumed vigilante and decides to visit the local crime boss in full costume. It’s fun and there’s a bit of bleed through between the idea of a superhero and Liv’s actual, zombie-given powers. Plus, Ravi (Rahul Kohli) has a list of possible names for Liv that are fabulous: “Super Dead,” “Doctor Power,” “Dead Power,” “Doctor Dead,” and “Snow Woman.”

8) Wendell Gordon Gale, “Grumpy Old Liv”

The season two premiere showed that even though some things in Liv’s life were changing, the basic premise of the show would stay the same. And Liv eating the brain of a horrible old racist showed that she was still going to consume brains and solve the murders of not-quite-perfect victims.

6) Harry Cole, “Max Wager”

Liv eats the brain of a compulsive gambler, which leads to her wagering on everything. But the scene that really gets to how much the brain drives Liv is when she invents an excuse to go back and place a bet with her meal’s former bookie.

5) Marvin Webster, “The Exterminator”

What should be a simple brain—that of a family man—becomes much creepier when Liv discovers after eating it that Webster was a hit man and a sociopath. This happened early in season one, and resulted in less of a broad comedy brain than we’d see in later episodes. The sociopath brain not feeling emotional pain also dovetailed nicely with Liv wanting to avoid how she feels about being a zombie.

4) Chad Wolkof, “Zombie Bro”

I hate that I still laugh about this. It’s a cliché, sure, but it’s such a fun cliché that I am okay with it. The comedy in this brain is superior and I love it. Liv’s frat bro brain made every scene she was in a comedy master class.

3) Scott E., “Astroburger”

Scott E. had hallucinations, which lead to one of the best brain episodes ever. The whole episode has Liv working with someone who claims to be related to the victim, giving her information that helps her solve the crime. But, of course, he’s a hallucination, too. I wish the show had done more with the idea that the brains Liv relies on information for aren’t totally reliable. It’s not just the mood swings, it’s that she’s experiencing things as they would, and that’s not always the whole truth.

2) Taylor Fowler, “Real Dead Housewife of Seattle”

McIver does some truly amazing work in this episode, “lunching on a lady who lunches.” There are moments of high comedy in this one—like this slap and her throwing water in the face of her nemesis—that are great. But the brain and Liv herself are also desperately lonely in a way that really gives nice shading to both characters. The twist at the end is lovely in showing how alone Liv feels. This is one of the best connections between brain and underlying emotional arc that show has ever done.

1) Syd Wicked, “Abra Cadaver”

I am on record as thinking that there was something truly perfect about the magician episode of iZombie. But the anchor is Liv’s transformation into a magician, courtesy of eating the brains of the totally-not-at-all-inspired-by-Criss-Angel illusionist. All of those gags are great, but it’s the denouement—in the classic “gather all the suspects in the parlor” style of mysteries, where a very dramatic Liv explains things—that makes this the best brain she’s ever eaten.

iZombie returns April 4 to the CW.

Katharine is the Associate Director of Policy and Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the former managing editor of io9. She writes about technology policy and pop culture.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


For some reason I read that title and thought recipes for said brains would be included. I mainly associate that show with food. Like, eating is a big part of it. I’m not a zombie.

Will it be a hit or a bomb with the public? Read the brain waves

To predict a large population’s likely response to something--a product, politician or policy--political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks about something, the formula goes. Tweak accordingly, and unleash on the public.

But what if a handful of subjects, a dozen or so electroencephalograms and a few hundred yards of electrical wiring could do a better job of identifying a potential hit (or winnowing out a rotten egg)? A new study finds that listening to the average brain-wave activity of a small group of subjects produces a more accurate prediction of a large population’s likely embrace of something than does asking the same few subjects what they think.

FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post reported that this study was conducted at New York University. It was conducted at City College of New York. Lucas C. Parra, the senior author of the paper, is professor of biomedical engineering at CCNY, not at NYU, as reported.

In the latest research, the 2010 series premiere of the AMC show “The Walking Dead” (shown after its airing to youthful subjects who’d not seen it) provided the experimental stimulus. The larger public’s actual judgment on the show’s curtain-raiser was gleaned not only by its Nielsen ratings but by a minute-to-minute tally of Twitter postings during the broadcast making reference to the show and its contents.

The researchers who conducted the study at City College of New York’s department of biomedical engineering then explored whether the collective brain activity patterns of a small group of subjects would predict a larger population’s responses to Super Bowl advertisements from 2012 and 2013. Their report was published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

Asking subjects’ opinions was of little value in predicting a hit or a flop. In addition to measuring their brain activity and devising a single measure of inter-subject synchrony, researchers asked subjects to rate the appeal of, or their level of engagement in, these televised offerings. The averaged ratings that subjects gave were a poor prediction of whether the viewing nation would stay engaged in and remember “The Walking Dead” or the Super Bowl ads.

In fact, the answers that subjects gave often didn’t fit with the collective brain wave patterns researchers observed and measured. In the case of some Super Bowl ads, the subjects’ oral assessments suggested they were left cold by the televised stimulus they had just seen, while an average measure of their brain-wave patterns showed they had watched with keen interest. In other cases, subjects reported high engagement, on average, with an ad they were seeing. But the collective measure of their brain activation patterns suggested they were unmoved by the content.

It turns out that people in focus groups--and those in one-on-one interviews with evaluators--lie. Or they temper, hedge, prevaricate or offer an opinion they think will make them look good to the person asking, said the study’s lead author, Jacek P. Dmochowski, now a research associate in Stanford University’s department of psychology. This “cognitive filtering” makes their assessments--even when they’re averaged--suspect, said Dmochowski, whose research was conducted under the supervision of senior author Lucas C. Parra of CCNY’s biomedical engineering department.

Brain waves, by contrast, do none of those things, suggested Dmochowski. Subjects’ scalps were rigged with electrodes, allowing researchers to measure the minute-to-minute intensity of their brain activity. When alone in a room watching the series premiere of “The Walking Dead,” their patterns of brain activity suggested either that they were drawn into the drama or that their attention had wandered off to other pursuits.

When a large bloc of people pass collective judgment on, say, a new TV show, there is also no lying, no hedging and no tactful consideration: from the comfort of their couches, with remote-controls in hand and other activities competing for their time and attention, the collective of individuals that make up the public jury decide whether a show will be a hit or not, just as they decide whether a public initiative will be embraced or a politician will rally support.

When there was strong synchrony in the brain-activity patterns of a small group--as few as 12 subjects watching “The Walking Dead,” for instance--the researchers believed they had distilled the signal that marks the stimulus as a hit. When brain activation patterns varied widely across the small group of individuals--as was seen with some Super Bowl ads that did not fare well in national surveys--researchers discerned the failure signal.

“The stimuli which we judge favorably may be those to which our brains respond in a stereotypical manner that is shared by our peers,” the researchers wrote. “Viewed in another manner, if one is able to evoke reliable neural activity from one’s audience, then that audience is, as a whole, more likely to find one’s message favorable.”

Find human drama in psychology? Me too! Follow me on Twitter: @LATMelissaHealy

Get our free Coronavirus Today newsletter

Sign up for the latest news, best stories and what they mean for you, plus answers to your questions.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

Zombie Brain Jello Shots

Easy Halloween recipe for Zombie Brain Jello Shots using a plastic brain mold and candy axes. Perfect for Zombie parties, Walking Dead Watch parties, or Halloween parties. Comes with non-alcoholic version.

Recipe for 21+. This post contains affiliate links, money make from these links goes back into the upkeep and management of this blog. For further details see our disclosure page located in the footer.

While typically I prefer the cutesie and magical side to Halloween, sometimes you need to let out your inner gore and horror. With shows like the Walking Dead, the IT remake, and American Horror story, the scary side of this holiday never takes a back seat. So this one is for you my zombie loving, gore appreciating Halloween fans.

These Zombie Brain Jello Shots are easy to make and are the perfect creepy touch to your Halloween drink station. You can even take them up a notch by switching out the lime jello for peach for a more realistic brain look. To be honest, I couldn’t stomach photographing such a thing so I took a hard pass and went for a more Frankenstein approach.


To make these brain like jello shots, you’ll need a mold. I picked up a plastic 6 brain candy mold from Michael’s. They currently do not have it on their site but as soon as they do I’ll link it. It’s located with the Halloween baking items. This recipe makes 12 of these brain jello shots, so you’ll need two of them. We’ll be making a thicker jello shot to insure it removes from the mold and it’s something you can pick up to eat with less mess.

You’ll start by adding one envelope of Knox Unflavored Gelatin to 1 cup of water in a sauce pan. Letting it sit to bloom for one minute. Then on the stove put your saucepan on medium to medium high heat. Letting the water and Knox come to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the Knox. Once simmering add in your 3 oz package of lime flavored gelatin whisking until dissolved and then removing from the heat. Slowy add in 4 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, whisking until fully combined. This is going to give it the green jello and opaque hue (you can skip it if you don’t care for that). A little at a time to avoid seizing the condensed milk, add in 2/3 cup of cold lime vodka (or any cold liquor of your choice). Whisking all of the liquids together. Set off your mixture to the side and let cool to working temperature.

IMPORTANT STEP: In this time lightly grease your molds with a little oil on a paper towel. Regardless if you have a plastic, metal, or silicon mold, this step is vital!

When ready add your mixture to the greased molds and let sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours to completely firm up. Once firm and ready to remove from the molds, let them sit on the counter for 2 minutes to release the chill, use your finger to lightly pull the jello away from the mold walls releasing the suction. Flip over your mold and gently shake them out of their molds. If they still stick just use your finger to pull it away from the mold wall, again, to release the suction it’s created.

If you like this, check out last year’s Halloween recipes!


If you would like to take it a step further for the bloody axe look, I bought these royal icing Wilton Axes from Michael’s. They are 100% edible and perfect for the time of year. Using a butter knife I cut a small opening where I wanted to stick my axe in. Once the axe was places, using red food dye and a food grade paint brush, I paints a wound opening. You can also use red icing for this if you would like.

Watch the video: The Walking Dead Scares Viewers With Its Most Terrifying Scene In Years (October 2021).