SCIENCE
10/09/2014 08:33 am ET Updated Oct 09, 2014

There's Nothing Weird About Being A Comic Con Geek

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10:  Cosplay fans attend the opening day of New York Comic Con 2013 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Cosplay fans attend the opening day of New York Comic Con 2013 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on October 10, 2013 in New York City. New York Comic Con is one of the largest comic book and science fiction conventions. The convention brings together fans of fantasy role playing, science fiction, movies and television. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Comic Con will descend on New York this weekend, and we're here to set the record straight about the sci-fi geeks who will show up for the event.

It seems some folks consider Comic Con attendees weird, but psychologists say there's nothing weird about having fun with people who share your interests.

"Many of the reasons people are attracted to Comic Con will be the same reasons people are attracted to sports teams," Dr. P.J. Henry, an associate psychology professor at New York University's Abu Dhabi campus, told The Huffington Post in an email. "I'd say that if you're not obsessed with Comic Con, chances are good you're obsessed with something else. :)"

Having a minor obsession with sci-fi may actually be a good thing.

"An interest in sci-fi characters can be a healthy thing if used as a way of taking mini-breaks from reality -– ones that leave us more refreshed to return to it," Dr. David Sack, an addiction psychiatrist in Los Angeles, California, told HuffPost Science in an email. "Everyone needs a little mental down time, after all, and it’s up to you whether you get that from reading a book, watching a movie, enjoying sports, or through a fascination with sci-fi characters."

That makes sense. But what about cosplay -- geek-speak for dressing up like your favorite character? That can't be healthy behavior, can it? Actually, according to Sack, playing dress-up at Comic Con can bring key psychological benefits.

"Someone who is shy can take on the popularity of the character they portray," he said. "Or someone who might feel invisible in life can become a superhero –- and perhaps even find ways to maintain some of that confidence once the costume comes off... Play has been shown to lower stress and anxiety, improve problem-solving, and make our relationships better."

So if you're not into Comic Con, maybe you should take a cue from those who are.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Comic Con Costumes 2013
CONVERSATIONS