Creative Tools for Psychology

Viewing and reading dramatic works are effective methods to gain a better understanding of psychology.  The following are several which brings the science to life:

  • A Beautiful Mind We get to see what schizophrenia looks like, reminds us that everyone is susceptible, along with gifted members of society.
  • Cape Fear.  The Max Cadies of the world are people we hide children away from, along with ourselves.
  • Cover Her Face.  Using and hurting others is sport for the psychopath protagonist.  And yet several other characters have their own issues in this PD James mystery.
  • Gaslight.  Charles Boyer depicts a man with schizoid personality disorder, set on destroying the sanity of his new bride.  The viewer can observe the nuances of his condition and his ability to send his wife to the edge of her nerves.
  • I Confess.  An Alfred Hitchcock thriller with Montgomery Clift as a clergy.  When he’s on trial for murder he didn’t commit, he keeps the real murderer’s confession.  The killer demonstrates the lengths he’ll go to keep his confession secret.
  • Network.  With so many characters with antisocial behaviors, it’s easier to count the ones who don’t possess negative qualities.
  • Plenty.  An examination of a woman who had purpose when working for the French Underground during the Second World War.  Returning to civilian life, she experiences a gradual depression, an emotional brokeness, leading up to a total psychotic break.
  • Secret Agent  Another Hitchcock thriller, loaded with humor. The surprise ending illustrates how dangerous people blend into society.

Shakespeare was a brilliant author, who placed the psychology of many characters under a microscope, making the discipline breathe.  Several examples are:

  • Antony and Cleopatra (anger management issues, duplicity, NPD, intuitiveness)
  • Hamlet (anger management issues, emotional collapse/depression, duplicity, family violence)
  • Julius Caesar (duplicity, precognition, NPD, ASPD)
  • King Lear (emotional collapse/depression, duplicity, elder abuse)
  • All’s Well That Ends Well}
  • Measure for Measure}                Negative behaviors in general
  • Taming of the Shrew}
  • The Tragedy of King Richard the Third (the protagonist could be Shakespeare’s ultimate psychopath, with King Claudius {Hamlet} in second place)

Even though they’re not replacements for coursework texts, viewing and reading particular dramas are creative tools for having a better comprehension of psychology, to recognize genuine, specific traits in others.

Which dramas would you add to this listing?


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