Psychology in Film

Psychology in Film
Spring, 2014

Professor: Dr. Travis Langley             Office: McBrien Hall Room 301-F, 230-5222, langlet@hsu.edu

PSY 4003. Special Topics: Psychology in Film. Examination of how motion pictures depict mental illness, relationships, and other psychologically relevant issues, as well as how films depict the field of psychology itself. Topics of discussion include universal themes, the psychological value of filmmaking and viewing, application of theories and concepts, accuracy in the depiction of psychological variables, and psychological impact.. Character analyses involve examination of personality, mental illness, developmental issues, conflicts, and motivation.

PREVIOUS SEMESTER’S FILM LIST: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; The Three Faces of Eve; Girl, Interrupted; The Quiet; Monster; Ghost World; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; A Beautiful Mind; Blindness; Sling Blade; Ed Wood; The Signal.

CURRENT SEMESTER’S FILM LIST SO FAR: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Girl, Interrupted; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; A Beautiful Mind; Memento; Sling Blade; The Quiet; Blindness; Benny & Joon; 6 Souls; Analyze This; Birdemic 2 clips; Nebraska; Awakenings; and a round of short films (“Lucid,” “Fragment,” “What Is That? (A Sparrow)”).

CLASSROOM SEMINAR (2/3 of the Grade)

Classroom Grade =  test + quizzes + participation.

TESTING

There will be one 40-point final exam covering lecture notes, assigned readings, and class discussion – or two 20-point tests (a take-home midterm plus in-class final) depending on our schedule.

You will take a number of short quizzes (generally just a couple of questions at a time) over your assigned readings and maybe the films too. The quizzes will collectively add up to count the same as one test. There will be no makeup quizzes. These are easy questions. If you just do your reading, you should not miss them.

GRADING

Test questions range in difficulty to get an accurate idea of exactly how much you know and understand about the course material. I do not feel it is right to establish a curve based on the highest grade in the class, in which case only one score would determine everyone’s grade. The scale on the 40‑point test (although bonus credit makes them worth more than 40) is simply this:

A 35.1 ‑‑>         B 30.1 ‑ 35.0         C 25.1 ‑ 30.0          D 20.1 ‑ 25.0          F <‑‑ 20.0

Your professor reserves the right to assign other values for these grade cutoffs. The professor also reserves the right to subtract any number of points from the grade of someone who disrupts class, or to assign a course grade of F to someone caught cheating. Anyone caught cheating will also be referred for University disciplinary measures.

Writing   Across   the Curriculum:   The last question on every test except the final will be “What else did you learn from the current course material that was not otherwise covered by this test?” For that question, you will need to explain concepts in complete sentences, making certain that you are not simply copying the wording as it appears in the book. Convince me you understand.

There can be other essay questions to assess your understanding of material. The next to last question on each test other than the final will be a diagnostic question like those you will see on the final.

PARTICIPATION

A participation grade will be based on attendance, appropriate involvement in classroom discussions (contributing without monopolizing), and demonstrations that you know your assigned readings. This grade will be equal to one test. It will be weighed more heavily for people who are not doing what they are supposed to do or maybe for someone who has participated exceptionally well.

You shall read the things you’re supposed to read. Discussions can be fun and interesting if everyone has read the same things. Discussions would be painful chores if they haven’t. Do it.

ATTENDANCE

Be here. Our non-movie days meet half as often as a regular class. Miss one class, you miss a lot.

PROJECT (1/3 of the GRADE)

Do a project. Present it.

Film analysis (40 points). Analyze a specific film, character, plot, or other film element in terms of specific psychological concepts. You will prepare a PowerPoint presentation on this topic, and you will present that at the Arkansas Undergraduate Research Conference held here at HSU later in the spring. You may present it orally or in poster format. Anyone taking this class for honors credit must make an oral presentation and compile all that content into a formal paper.

Examples: [coming soon]

COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES

By the end of the course, the student should be able to . . .

1. Examine themes that are psychologically significant in works of film.
2. Describe how ilm can be used in therapeutic, healing, or educational ways.
3. Describe what psychology says about film and what film says about psychology.
4. Tender literary examples of characters who embody different personality attributes and how they may illustrate theories of personality.
5. Describe at least one literary example of a character with a mental disorder and be able to give examples of how the disorder was presented.
6. Describe ways in which film has a powerful impact on stereotyping in the area of culture, gender or ethnicity.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

As a learning community of scholars, Henderson State University emphasizes the ethical responsibility of all its members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith. Students are responsible for doing their own work, and academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Violations of academic integrity include but are not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or misrepresentation of information in oral or written form. Such violations will be dealt with severely by the instructor, the dean, and the standards committee. Plagiarism means presenting someone else’s idea or writing as if it were your own. If you use someone else’s idea or writing, be sure the source is clearly documented. Other guidelines for acceptable student behavior are specified in the university catalogue. See also cell phone policy.

ELECTRONICS POLICY

If your phone rings or vibrates loudly enough for your professor to hear it during class, every ring is a classroom disruption and can cost you points. If it rings once, make sure it does not ring a second time.

Do not text during class because that is distracting to others. If you need to be on your phone that badly, then you need to be somewhere else.

Your phone and other electronic devices must be OFF and OUT OF SIGHT during tests. You are responsible for making sure you cannot even see your phone during the test. If your phone, iPod, or anything else that could contain notes is visible, that will be treated as cheating because too many students use their phones to cheat. I do not have to confirm what was on your phone or related item.

Don’t use computers to take classroom notes. Sorry, but too many professors have run into problems with people distracting other students by sitting there surfing the Internet.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

As a learning community of scholars, Henderson State University emphasizes the ethical responsibility of all its members to seek knowledge honestly and in good faith. Students are responsible for doing their own work, and academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Violations of academic integrity include but are not limited to cheating, plagiarism, or misrepresentation of information in oral or written form. Such violations will be dealt with severely by the instructor, the dean, and the standards committee. Plagiarism means presenting someone else’s idea or writing as if it were your own. If you use someone else’s idea or writing, be sure the source is clearly documented. Other guidelines for acceptable student behavior are specified in the university catalogue.

COMMUNICATION

The best way to contact your professor is via email at langlet@hsu.edu.

If you do not normally use your reddies.hsu.edu email address, you MUST set it up to forward messages to you because if I have to email a message to the class, that’s where the system will send it. You are responsible for making certain you are set up to receive messages from your professor.

Students with disabilities:  Individuals who may need academic accommodation based on the impact of a documentable disability (e.g.: sensory, learning, psychological, medical, mobility) should contact the Disability Resource Center for assistance.  For more information, visit the DRC website at www.hsu.edu/disability.

Any information in this syllabus may be subject to correction, revision, or other change.

 

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