Resources on exploring psychology through film and literature?

Where can one find resources on exploring psychology through film and literature? Which films, books, music, websites, and other media should be included in a psychology collection? How does media use psychology techniques in film making? Which media explain psychology subjects well?

There is an overabundance of pseudoscientific and dated psychology material such as Freud, Jung, and so on; however, it is much harder to find material more modern psychology and its relationship to media. Resources on how the media uses psychology techniques and how psychology is incorporated into media would be very valuable.

one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, the book and the movie, is one example of exploring psychological concepts.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is an example of camera techniques using perception techniques.

I think your OP will do better in our forum for the Arts…Cafe Society.

Moved from General Questions.

samclem Moderator

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for but one of our profs showed clips from “Fatal Attraction” to illustrate Borderline Personality Disorder

Many of Hitchcock’s films touch on psychology, in the sense of being concerned with psychotic or sociopathic characters. SPELLBOUND is very Freudian, with a dream sequence designed by Salvardor Dali; the psychology is considerably out of date. MARNIE is about a psychologically disturbed woman; the “psychology” is basically superficial, seeming to be an explanation but really not (as in PSYCHO, where the psychiatrist’s explanation at the end is extremely superficial.)

Hitchcock uses the camera in several films to convey the psychological aspect. In MARNIE, for instance, the main character has a psychological reaction to the color red*, and when she sees it, the music shrieks and the screen is suffused with red, causing the audience to “share” her reaction. In PSYCHO, of course, the audience is tricked by the camera into indentifying with the psycho. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and SHADOW OF A DOUBT and FRENZY all deal with psychotic killers in interesting ways, as well.

  • NOTE well, she only reacts to red when it’s flowing, blood-like or related to blood like the hunters’ jackets. It’s important to the story that she doesn’t react to all reds.

My ex-wife is an expert in Post Traumatic Stress. She used to do a presentation that was about Tennessee William’s female characters and how they are all victims of traumatic stress.

You mentioned film–how about the other visual arts? The Neuroscience Art Gallery has some interesting examples.

Here’s an article on schizophrenia & art.

I’d always heard that Polanski’s Repulsion was about a woman driven crazy by sexual repression, and then I actually saw the movie in the theater a few weeks ago. The movie is clearly and unambiguously about a woman driven mad by past sexual abuse. It blew my mind when I came home and wanted to read about the movie and found so many people talking about the “sexual repression” of the character, and pooh-poohing the very suggestion that it had anything to do with sexual abuse.

That’s an additional psychological touch right there, because it’s only men I’ve found who believe it’s sexual repression. I couldn’t find one woman who believed such obvious nonsense. Aware and sensitive men could see it was sexual abuse, as well as women, so I’m not implying that all men were wrapped up in their DickEgo. There’s multiple layers of psychology in and surrounding that film.

The Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago is currently in the middle of a series called “The Mask of Sanity: Psychological Horror Films” and that was one of the selections.

Check out some of the blogs at Psychology Today, like Hollywood Ph.D. or Reel Therapy.