Psychology in Film 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. Your assignment is to view one film and to identity and read a scientifically solid, empirical ‘companion’ article 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 based on current empirical research.

Step 1: Select a movie. I have provided a list for you (attached) of suggestions for movies associated with each chapter. Movies are first come, first serve so email me ASAP to declare your choice. If you want to write about a movie that is not on this list, you must have it approved. If you write about a movie that has not been approved, you will lose points.

Step 2: Read the chapter. This helps you know what concepts you’re looking for in 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 research articles. Find at least two peer-reviewed academic journal articles (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. I suggest submitting a plan with the movie title and a copy of the articles to ensure the sources you are utilizing are appropriate.

Step 5: Write the paper. Start with a summary of the movie, identifying the main psychological themes and key concepts from the chapter. Describe the articles you chose: why you chose it, details of the study they did, and main findings. Connect the movie with the article: What commonalities did you discover, what differences existed, overall did the movie portray your concept 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 examples with details from the movie. 

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