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Extended Inquiry Project: Movies and their Effects Kevin Haverstrom English 1102 Lucy Steele

For the longest time I have personally wondered if what the media and parents say about watching movies, and the effects they have on peoples minds. Parents have always told their kids that they arent allowed to watch certain movies. The media has also bashed on violent and gory movies having some kind of effect of people, and how they act after watching them. It is an age old question that has had American families thinking the same thing, does watching violent games and movies have an effect on people emotions. It is not just violent ones that have me interested. It is if that any kind of movie has an effect on the human mind, if any at all. Different kinds of movies have different kinds of effects on people, and different people may be affected by movies differently. Everyones interpretation is different, and people will have different reactions to what they see. Horror, Comedy, Action, Thriller, and Drama are just some of the genre out there, but mainly the ones I am interested in because of their reported effects on people after watching them. I want to know if there is really a change in a persons behavior after a movie. For example, are you sad after watching a drama, or more angry after watching a violent movie? These are just some of the question that I would like to answer. Any kinds of psychological effect, whether it is something that you can easily tell, or have to watch over time. Not even just psychological effects, but health effects as well, will be looked at from a more scientific stand point.

First, a look at the psychological effects of watching movies on people. A study of 329 subjects was conducted over 15 years. Those who as young kids watched violent films were more prone to committing crime, whereas the ones who were not exposed to the violence did not (Lemiffi). The conclusion of this experiment showed that no matter what, whether you are from a wealthy household or not, you can still be psychologically altered at a young age, and even when you are older, if you are exposed to violence. Why as logically thinking human beings, can we not decipher what is real from fake? Why is it that seeing a play doesnt have the same effect as seeing it on a television screen? This study was started at a young age, and at those young ages it can be hard for the young mind to determine what is right and wrong, and real and unreal. I come to think of this as true up to the extent all our actions are based on what we learn and what we know, and that we as human beings learn by seeing and imitating (Lemiffi). Film is an art form that expresses the views and ideas of the writer. Much like a play, movies are just filmed and edited versions. This form of expression may be too much for the human mind to handle. Something else that is intriguing is the actors themselves. In many cases, actors have claimed that they got so involved in the role that it took over who they were. One person that comes to mind is Heath Ledger. Ledger was playing the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises. He died before the movie premiered, but all the joker scenes had been shot. Besides the use of drugs, Ledger claimed that playing the Joker consumed him and took over his life. A survey that I conducted on the class showed that different people react to different types of films. Though, only a few people responded to my survey, I was able to gain some valuable information. I received a wide variety of answer. I asked questions such as, do you look over your shoulder after watching a scary movie? Do you think every noise is a paranormal phenomenon? Mots said yes to both, but a few said not leaving me to believe that people have

different reactions to what they see and may be able to tell what is real and logical, versus unreal. Though I cannot tell who answered which question, I cant say if this person has this reaction and also this reaction then they may have this reaction. What the survey does show is that movies do have an effect on peoples emotions and state of mind. Me personally, after watching a scary movie, I cant sleep well or have bad dreams. This is only temporary. A few days later, the thoughts fade from my mind and I return to my normal self. But, at what point can someone not snap out of the fiction world created for their entertainment and step back into the real world? There is also another aspect to the question. Are there any real health issues with watching movies, or can it maybe make you feel better and be somewhat healthy. Studies have shown
that adrenalin junkies get real pleasure out of being scared by horror movies, but in a variety of ways they may be risking their physical and mental health without even knowing it (Benjamin). Watching these high intensity movies can and have led to a number of heart attacks. They can also trigger past traumatic experiences, and make you relive those exact moments. On the upside, movies can have a positive effect on your body. Comedies help lower your blood pressure; when you laugh for extended periods of time your blood vessels dilate (Benjamin). 15 minutes of intense real laughter can have the same effect on your cardio as the same amount of time exercise (Benjamin). Even watching porn can have a positive effect. No Im not saying go out and watch porn, but it does make certain parts of your brain shut down; parts that you wouldnt want running a million miles a minute (Benjamin). Movies can improve your overall state of mind. They can make you happier or sad, angry or contempt, and even scared or concerned. Science and real life experiences have proved that movies do have an effect, whether it be positive or negative. There really isnt an answer to the question of whether or not they have directly influenced any events that have occurred in the past. There is always more research to

be done and tests to be conducted to further come to the conclusion of whether or not movies do have that much of an effect on people and society.

Work Cited
Benjamin, Kathy. "Pajiba." 5 Scientific Ways Watching Movies Effects You. N.p., 7 June 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. Lemiffe. "Menu." Lemiffe. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.