Lights… Camera… Action!

Ayushi Y -

Hello everyone,

My name is Ayushi Yadav and my senior research project, “Beyond the Screen” was created to show how the negative manner in which psychopaths are portrayed in the media leads to the creation of many misconceptions regarding those with mental health issues. To find what traits cause psychopaths to be associated with other mental disorders as a whole, I ask the question, what traits lead the audience to view a character as “psychopathic” and how do these traits compare to other personality disorders? 

I love watching thriller movies, so I’ve seen my fair share of psychopaths on screen. My current curiosity led me to watch more true crime podcasts, where I could see the real-life actions of psychopaths. As the range of podcasts I listened to grew, I observed a pattern: they never directly addressed someone as a “psychopath”. Even in cases where there are apparent characteristics that lead listeners to conclude such a thing, true crime podcasts tend to avoid using the term “psychopath,” due to its clinical nature. This raised the question, “What particular traits made me think these people were psychopathic?” This brings me to my main query: What constitutes a psychopath?

The violence portrayed in movies has negatively contributed to the mental health of people with disorders. “Half of mental health service users say that movie representations negatively impact their mental health and bout one-third of them said that family and friends treated them differently, and 25% experienced hostility from neighbors” (Beachum, 2006). To prevent stigmatization in the future and to foster an educational atmosphere in the film industry, I hope to shed light on the impact of filmmaking approaches on the stigmatization of individuals with mental health issues. 

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Thank You for Reading,

Ayushi Yadav

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    Ayushi - I look forward to following your journey as you conduct research that would aim to shed light on stigma in the arena of mental health. What methods do you intend to use to collect data, specifically, in relation to the impact of film on society’s perspectives? Super cool.
    Hey Ayushi, This project sounds fascinating and I am looking forward to the results you draw from this. What film industry are you planning on studying right now? Is it going to be a specific country's film industry or the film industry as a whole?
    SSU - The data I collect will be purely qualitative since I will analyze specific quotes and actions of the characters. To connect this data to society's perspectives, I will compare them to common stereotypes seen in society in the past regarding mental health.
    Ayushi Yadav
    Hey Sinchana, I plan to focus solely on the American film Industry at the moment due to the time constraints that we have on our senior project. If I continue my research after our school period, it would be cool to see the differences in how mental health is viewed in countries around the world.

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