My Research Experience So Far

Ayushi Y -

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to go into detail this week about my research experience up to this point. Over the past few weeks, my project has undoubtedly taken many turns, but it’s all “for the plot” anyway so that makes it more interesting. My ongoing claim is that people’s negative impressions of mental health are a result of how severely psychopaths are portrayed in movies. Initially, I intended to view films featuring people whom the viewer would identify as “psychopaths” in order to demonstrate how forming our own diagnoses distorts our understanding of mental illness in general. But, since everyone has a distinct perspective on actions, this proved to be challenging and I therefore opted to change my methodology a bit. 

I’ve since modified my approach to compare the films I’ve watched previously to those that are set in mental institutions or have explicit diagnoses for people with mental health issues. This will help distinguish the difference in the level of violence perceived by the audience to illustrate whether a mental health diagnosis leads to increased stigmatization towards characters with mental illnesses as compared to violent characters without diagnoses. My main goal is to show how stigma around mental health may lead to social isolation. Using films that include accurate diagnoses will help me achieve this goal more successfully. In terms of time, I’m finishing up my first round of movie watching and starting to compile reviews of the ones I’ve seen that particularly touch on mental health.

Thank you for reading!

Ayushi Yadav

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    Sinchana Keshav
    Hey Ayushi! Are you planning on changing your list of movies to adapt to your new goals or sticking with the same ones?
    Hey Ayushi! I love that your project is growing along with your findings, it’s something that happens a lot. I was wondering what specifically led you to decide on the specific modification you made, were there other ideas on how to turn your project?
    Hey Sinchana! I switched out some of my movies to include ones that were set in a mental institution such as Stonehearst Asylum and Girl, Interrupted.
    Hi Ayushi! It's great that you were able to adapt and create a new more fitting methodology. How did you choose which movies to watch?
    Hey Bhuvi! While I was doing more research on my project I found the statistic that mentally ill characters on television were nearly 10 times more likely to be portrayed as brutal criminals. My project used to see if the audience would diagnose the psychopath as mentally ill themselves which would cause more stigma but I believe that taking the approach in which the character is already diagnosed will allow me to use the reviews and articles in a way that more clearly illustrates that the diagnosis is what led to the increased perception of violence.
    Hey Sowmithra! I chose movies that clearly had mental institutions or diagnoses already stated in them and to find these movies I often had to look at plot summaries or read articles about the movie itself. Sadly though, this causes me to have huge spoilers about the movie often beforehand.

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