Book explores 'Psychology at the Movies'
Thursday, May 09, 2013 11:00 AM
Depending on one's outlook on life, a movie could mean something different to two different people. Just ask the man who has studied the subject for years.
Skip Dine Young explores the psychology behind the movies, the people who create them and the audience watching the movies in his book, "Psychology at the Movies." Young, a professor of psychology at Hanover College, plans an author talk and book signing at Village Lights Bookstore on Saturday.
"It grew out of a class I teach at Hanover," Young said of the book, yet his interest in psychological impacts from movies began years before teaching at the collegiate level.
Young first began taking a look at psychology and movies for his senior thesis at Miami University in Ohio, and his interests for popular culture and scholarly studies have continued ever since. For his thesis, Young looked at the reaction of male college students to violence in movies with his research.
While studying for his doctorate in clinical psychology, Young looked at development, therapy, symbolism, stories and movies. The book is a culmination of his research, as well observations over the years.
"It draws from academic scholarly research," Young said, but the book's readability spans a wide age range.
He began teaching a class about the psychology of film several years ago where students analyzed movies and how the film represented people, their occupations and their lifestyles. The class also studied the psychology of filmmakers, as well as the actors and writers, and how those people created the basis of the film's storyline.
Young and his students also looked at the psychology of the audience during the class and why they might choose to see a movie or how their personal feelings allow someone to connect with the movie, which is also a theme in the book, he said.
In his book, Young explores mental health issues plus how psychotherapy and psychological disorders have been depicted in film. Young also addresses how psychologists interpret movies.
The book doesn't focus on just one movie as an overarching theme. Instead, Young uses examples from hundreds of movies throughout the book, he said, including "Star Wars," "Taxi Driver," "Psycho" and the more recent film, "Black Swan."
Young plans to read a short excerpts that captures the major ideas of the book and host a discussion with the audience during an author talk and book signing at the bookstore, 110 E. Main St., from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.