Movie Analysis Paper

Movie Analysis Paper

Some controversy exists concerning how concepts in psychology are portrayed in the popular media, including film. Choose one of the films from the following list and view it. Each film fits with a particular chapter from the textbook. Your assignment is to view one film and to identity and read a scientifically solid, empirical ‘companion’ from the psychological literature that explores the film’s theme empirically. The point of this paper is for you to think about how accurately these concepts are portrayed in the media.

Step 1: Select a movie.  I have provided a list for you (attached) of suggestions for movies and their corresponding textbook chapters.  If you write on a movie that has not been approved, you will lose points.

Step 2: Read the chapter before watching the movie.  This helps you know what concepts you’re looking for in the movie.  Take notes. You will use them when you watch the movie.

Step 3: Watch the movie.  Take the notes you’ve made from the chapter and sit down to watch the movie. Make sure you have your remote near you to pause the movie. You’ll probably need to take notes while you’re watching because you should provide specific examples from the movie in your write-up. Be as detailed as possible in your notes so that you don’t have to watch the movie a second time (although, you can if you really enjoyed it!).

Step 4: Find an article.  Find a peer-reviewed academic journal article (empirical, review, or meta-analysis, but NOT a book chapter or popular press article) that addresses one of the concepts from the movie.  For example, if you’re watching Mean Girls, you could look up a study on the differences in adolescents rated high in sociometric vs. peer-perceived popularity. Students should use the FTCC Library webpage to search for and select an appropriate article. Please let your instructor know if you need assistance with this process.

Step 5: Write the paper.  Start with a summary of the movie, identifying the main themes.  Describe the article you chose: why you chose it, details of the study they did, main findings.  Tie the movie in with the article: did the movie portray the psychological concept you chose accurately?  Your paper should focus on the aspects of the movie that are directly related to the chapter.  Summarize the movie overall, but be sure to include specific with details from the movie.  Many movies include some sort of psychological disorder, but don’t focus on that unless you’ve selected a movie from the Chapter 15 list.


· You may use quotations from the movie, but  no quotations from the article .  This should be your interpretation of the article and how it fits with the movie.

· There is no minimum or maximum word/page requirement, but you should sufficiently describe the movie so that I can understand what you’ve pulled from it without having seen the movie recently.  Your paper will likely be 3-5 double-spaced pages.  More or less than that is fine as long as you complete all parts of the assignment in that space. I have never had anyone receive full credit who wrote less than three pages!

· No personal stories or anecdotes.  This is about how the media portrays these concepts, not how you’ve experienced them.

· You do not need to cite the movie as long as you state which movie you selected, but you should cite the article (in-text and at the end).  All article references should be in APA format.

· Your paper must be submitted in Blackboard and run through SafeAssign.  It will be checked for plagiarism, so don’t just copy your summary of the movie from IMDB or Wikipedia.

Rubric (100 points total):

25 pts. Describe the movie (summarize the movie, being sure to include details about how the psychological concept is presented. Describe the specific scenes in which the concept was portrayed, including the characters’ words or behaviors)

25 pts. Summarize the article (include key questions and findings and a brief overview of the methods, including sample characteristics)

40 pts. Connect the article and movie (did the movie portray what the article found? Use specific examples from the movie that agree or conflict with what was found in the article. You are welcome to repeat the same examples you used in the movie summary.)

10 pts. References (must be APA style, including in-text citations for the article. You do not need to cite the movie.)

Movie Options (listed by textbook chapter with the you will explore in parenthesis):

Chapter 1 (Psychology, Critical Thinking and Science)

Space Jam (placebo effect)

Kinsey (research design)

Eurotrip (placebo effect)

The Birdcage (placebo effect)

Chapter 2 (Brain and Behavior)

Awakenings (Parkinson’s, dopamine)

Regarding Henry (brain damage; NOT memory loss)

Chapter 4 (Sensation & Perception)

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (enhancement of senses following loss of one)

At First Sight (regaining/developing eyesight)

Senseless (1998) (sensory loss)

Altered States (sensory deprivation; NOT drug use)

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (perfumes, olfaction)

Perfect Sense (sensory loss)

Faces in the Crowd (face blindness)

Serenity (subliminal messaging)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (altered perception during drug use)

Blindsight (sensation)

Chapter 6 (Conditioning and Learning)

Babe (operant conditioning)

A Clockwork Orange (classical conditioning: aversion therapy)

The Terminal Man (operant conditioning)

The Village (conditioning)

Chapter 7 (Memory)

Memento (memory formation)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (erasing memories)

Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch (Alzheimer’s)

The Notebook (Alzheimer’s)

Clean Slate (memory loss)

The Majestic (amnesia)

The Man Without a Past (amnesia)

Overboard (amnesia)

The Vow (amnesia)

Rashomon (eyewitness testimony)

50 First Dates (anterograde amnesia)

Trance (memory loss and recovery)

Chapter 8 (Cognition, Language and Creativity)

Limitless (cognition)

Lucy (cognition)

Baby Geniuses (language development)

Nell (language)

Chapter 9 (Intelligence)

Little Man Tate (childhood genius)

Searching for Bobby Fisher (chess prodigy)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (intellectual disability)

I Am Sam (intellectual disability)

Good Will Hunting (intelligence)

Chapter 10 (Motivation and Emotion)

Touching the Void ()

The Pursuit of Happiness (motivation)

Crash (motivation)

Equilibrium (emotion suppression)

Serenity (emotion suppression)

Chapter 12 (Personality)

Step Brothers (defense mechanisms)

Patch Adams (defense mechanisms)

Mommie Dearest (heritability of personality, humanistic theory)

Chapter 13 (Stress & Health)

Black Swan (stress)

Visioneers (coping with stress)

50/50 (coping with cancer)

Jarhead (combat)

Perks of Being a Wallflower (effects of childhood abuse)

Chapter 14 (Disorders)

Brothers (PTSD)

As Good As It Gets (OCD)

Aviator (OCD)

Matchstick Men (OCD)

What About Bob? (Anxiety)

Copycat (Agoraphobia)

A Beautiful Mind (Schizophrenia)

The Soloist (Schizophrenia)

Me, Myself, and Irene (DID)

Secret Window (DID)

Fight Club (DID)

Shutter Island (Dissociative amnesia)

Wristcutters: A Love Story (Depression, Suicide)

It’s Kind of a Funny Story (Depression)

Mr. Jones (Bipolar)

Silver Linings Playbook (bipolar)

Special (medically-induced psychosis)

American Psycho (Antisocial )

The Talented Mr. Ripley (Antisocial personality disorder)

We Need to Talk About Kevin (Antisocial personality disorder)

The Cable Guy (Borderline Personality disorder)

Swimfan (Borderline personality disorder)

Chapters 16 and 17 (Social Psychology)

Crash (racism)

The Experiment (Stanford prison experiment)

Mean Girls (adolescent social structure)

American History X (social conformity)

Speak (ostracism)

Love Actually (romantic relationships)

(500) Days of Summer (romantic relationships)

She’s All That (social conformity)

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