Review a film you’ve seen recently (NOT one shown in this class), analyzing it using Erikson’s stages (whichever of the stages is appropriate).

 

 

psychology in film

watch a movie
Review a film you’ve seen recently (NOT one shown in this class), analyzing it using Erikson’s stages (whichever of the stages is appropriate).

Stuck for a movie? Try renting: 13, Parenthood, Away from Her, She Having a Baby, or Baby Boom.

Include examples from your life. Provide some analysis of the topic. An “A” paper provides depth, not just a cursory glance.

Human Development Notes… If this lesson interests you, you may want to take Psych 41 on Life Span Psychology.
Development is the pattern of movement or change that begins at conception and continues through the life span. It consists of a combination of biological, cognitive and socio-emotional processes.
•Biological processes…processes that involve changes in an individual’s physical nature.
•Cognitive processes…processes that involve changes in an individual’s thought, intelligence, and language.
•Socio-emotional processes…processes that involve changes in an individual’s relationships with other people, changes in emotions, and changes in personality.
•Do people develop because of their genes (nature) or their environment (nurture)? As discussed in the previous lesson on twin studies, each plays a role, neither is 100%. Maturation is the term used to refer to the orderly sequence of changes dictated by each person’s genetic blueprint. The nature vs. nurture debate is interesting. Are you who you are because of your genes? Is there something in your genetic makeup that predisposes you (inclines or makes you susceptible) to be more sensitive or resistant to the forces in your environment? What part does your culture, religion, or community play?
The best way to find out is through twin studies. Identical twins are genetic clones (!); they share the exact same genes. Twins that are raised together in the same household are often very similar with their likes and dislikes and habits. Well sure… same parents, same culture, same religion: same environment! But what if the twins were separated at birth…same genetics, but different environment? Strangely enough, they often have some peculiar things in common, such as a fondness for peanut butter and pickle sandwiches (ew!) or marrying the same type of man. A strong case for genetics! But there also may be some differences. You often believe what your parents believe, whether in politics or religion, and separated twins will also tend to believe what those around them believe in. Those beliefs may guide your actions in relationships, school, and life. A strong case for environment! Truthfully, it’s probably a little of both. Extreme environmental conditions (such as abuse) can override genetics (such as someone who is psychologically healthy), just as extreme genetics (such as XYY chromosome men, who can be quite violent) can override environment (such as a loving household).
•How does development progress? Continuity of development is the view that development involves gradual, cumulative change from conception to death. Discontinuity of development is the view that development involves distinct stages in the life span.
Step 1: Chromosomes (really simple genetics here) Each cell in the human body contain 46 chromosomes, which are grouped into 23 pairs. The last pair determine the sex of the person. The larger chromosomes are shaped like an “X”; the smaller ones like a “Y”. Every female has 2 X’s (XX) and every male has one X and one Y (XY). Upon conception, each parent contributes 23 chromosomes (23 in mom’s egg and 23 in dad’s sperm), which are paired up. One of these 23 is the sex chromosome (an X or a Y). The mom has two X’s and always gives an X chromosome to her child. The dad has an X and a Y, and will give either an X or a Y to his child. There is a 50% chance that he will give an X chromosome and the result is a girl, and a 50% chance that he will give a Y chromosome and the result is a boy. Each of the 46 chromosomes contains millions of genes which program the organism to grow organs and appendages. They also determine whether you will have blue eyes or brown, blonde hair or red. Some genes are dominant (stronger) and others are recessive (weaker). If you get a dominant gene for eye color (brown) from your mom and a recessive one (blue) from your dad, the dominant gene will determine your eye color. In the example above, Mom has blue eyes and passes the blue gene to her kids. Dad has brown eyes (with one recessive blue gene). There is a 50% that each child will have blue eyes. It used to be thought that the dominant/recessive gene concept was just this simple, but recent research has shown that it may be much more complex – it takes more than one teeny gene to determine eye color, and the interaction between many genes can cause the eyes to develop a possible range of colors.
There’s a wealth of pictures and info at https://www.w-cpc.org/fetal.html. Here’s a summary: Step 2: Zygote (conception to week 1) Now that our little ovum has been fertilized, we call it a zygote. The cells began to divide. Each of these cells has the potential to be a heart, lung, brain, spleen, or any other body part. These are stem cells. Is a zygote a baby? A potential baby? It depends on your religious background and personal beliefs! Step 3: Blastocyst (week 1-2) The cells in the zygote continues to divide until they form into a blastocyst, a layered clump of cells. Steps 3: Embryo (week 2-12) The outer layer will attach to the uterine wall and become the placenta. The inner layer of cells are now called the embryo (early baby). See the link! Step 5: Fetus (week 13-40) Once the baby reaches 13 weeks of development, it is known as a fetus. All the appendages (arms, legs, fingers, and toes) are visible.
Erik Erikson proposed these stages of psychosocial development (the numbers indicate the approximate age of the person in that stage). At each stage the person struggles with both concepts; he/she must resolve the conflict before moving on to the next stage.
•Trust vs. mistrust (0-1). Babies learn that when they cry, someone will take care of their needs. This is the basis of trust. Playing “peek-a-boo” also establishes trust – the babies develop a trust that the person on whom they depend will return.
•Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (1-3) This stage occurs during toilet training and the “terrible twos”. Toddlers assert their autonomy by saying, “NO!” a lot. If they don’t develop a sense of control over themselves and their environment, they experience shame and doubt about their lack of control.
•Initiative vs. guilt (3-6) Children in the preschool years attempt to initiate many activities, some of which will succeed, and some will fail. When adults encourage this initiative, children believe in their abilities; when adults punish children for this initiative, they feel guilt.
•Industry vs. inferiority (6-11) During the grade school years, children learn that they either can perform to society’s and their parent’s standards, or they feel inferior.
•Identity vs. role confusion (11-22) The teen and early adult years are ones of searching for identity. Who am I? What is my role? Why am I here? If they don’t establish their identities, they will experience role confusion.
•Intimacy vs. isolation (22-40) Now that the adult has discovered his/her role in life, he/she will develop intimacy – the ability to share the self with a significant other. Compromise is necessary in intimacy or isolation will result.
•Generativity vs. stagnation (40-65) Middle aged people need to discover that they can continue to contribute productively to society, or else they stagnate.
•Integrity vs. despair (65+) Older people look back on their lives with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, or they have major regrets about mistakes and missed opportunities.
Some peculiarities of adolescent thought… Adolescent Egocentrism is the overall term for the following:
• An Imaginary Audience consists of admirers and critics that adolescents conjure up that exist only in their imagination. The teen imagine that he/she is being judged by others.
• Personal Fable – A teenager’s exaggerated sense of personal uniqueness, often in the form of a fantasy in which he/she has superpowers or has a secret destiny.
• Invulnerability Fable – A teenager’s belief that he/she is indestructible and impervious to drugs, speeding cars, or pregnancy. Adolescence is often seen as a “sturm und drang”, or storm-and-stress period of turbulence charged with conflict and mood swings. This can be caused by hormone shifts, the identity vs. role confusion stage of Erikson’s, peer pressures, and the pushing of parental limits.
Aging is a combination of cellular degeneration, a change in social roles, and a belief in one’s abilities. Men experience a lessening of sexual function which affects their identities as sexual beings. Women undergoing menopause (a cessation of menstruation) may also change their self-image about their identities as sexual beings. The effect of aging on mental capacity…
•Senile dementia (senility) is a state of severe mental deterioration marked by impaired memory and intellect, as well as by altered personality and behavior. There is no guarantee that anyone will become senile – some stay as sharp as ever until the day they die! Senility and Alzheimer’s tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic link.
•Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive deterioration of intellect and personality that results from widespread degeneration of brain cells. It eventually causes death.
•High blood pressure and memory. Apparently, those with hypertension may have problems with short-term memory.
•The aged generally keep the skills they have from their youth. There may be some deterioration as you age. Use it or lose it! Activity theory: the more active and involved older people are, the more satisfied they will be with their lives and the more likely they will stay healthy. Ageism is prejudice against people based on their age.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross theorized the stages of grief. These stages can be experienced by the ill/dying person, or a loved one:
•Denial. The disbelief that death is imminent.
•Anger. This can take the form of anger at God, anger at the tobacco companies, or anger at the dying person for “leaving”.
•Bargaining. Usually with God… “If you let me live, I promise that I’ll ________.”
•Depression. The individual or loved one loses hope for recovery, and begin to understand that death is imminent.
•Acceptance. The individual or loved one accepts that this is a natural stage of life, and may even find peace or solace. Many people who do not actively believe or participate in religion, choose to explore a religion and the concepts of the afterlife when facing death.
This is a beautiful film of a man who, after suffering a paralyzing accident, chooses to die. Is suicide a different concept than “assisted” suicide (where one needs help to die)? Is suicide acceptable in some situations but not others? This story brings to mind the case of Terry Schiavo. She was a bulimic whose potassium because unbalanced causing a heart attack. Until her heart could be restarted, she suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. She spent 10 years in a persistent vegetative state: unable to move, communicate, or have any quality of life as we know it. Her husband fought with her parents for a year for the right to “pull the plug”. The courts finally allowed her to die in peace.
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