Psychology in “The Pursuit of Happiness”

Watch the movie “Pursuit of Happyness”.
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 (peer-r3eviewed 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.

Step 1: Select a movie. I have provided a list for you (attached) of suggestions for movies associated with each chapter. If you want to write on a movie that is not on this list, you must have it approved before March 9. If you write on 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 an article. Find a peer-reviewed academic journal article (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. If you want me to look at the article to make sure it is peer reviewed, print it and bring it to class no later than March 23. If you use an article that is not peer reviewed, you will lose points.
Step 5: Write the paper. Start with a summary of the movie, identifying the main themes. Describe the article you chose: why you chose it, details of the study they did, main findings. Tie the movie in with the article: 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. Many movies include some sort of psychological disorder, but don’t focus on that unless you’ve selected a movie from the Module 48-52 list.

· You may use quotations from the movie, but no quotations from the article. (Paraphrase the article for relevant information when necessary and cite it in APA style). This should be your interpretation of the article and how it fits with the movie.
· There is no minimum or maximum word/page requirement, but you should sufficiently describe the movie so that I can understand what you’ve pulled from it without having seen the movie recently. Your paper will likely be 3-5 double-spaced pages. More or less than that is fine as long as you complete all parts of the assignment in that space. I have never had anyone receive full credit who wrote less than three pages!


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