Could a Movie be Your New Psychiatrist?

Your behavior in the darkness of a movie theater could be the key diagnostic tool psychologists have been searching for in accurately diagnosing personality disorders. In a recent research study Doctor Clark Stanley, professor of theoretical psychology at Hodgson University, found conclusive links between specific habits of moviegoers and several different personality and mood disorders. To solve the problem of ever-increasing misdiagnosis Doctor Stanley believes the key is to observe the subjects when they have the most anonymity in a controlled environment.

“We live in a time when most patients seeking treatment or diagnosis have already had vast exposure to diagnostic questionnaires through Social Networking websites. While these often show up as playful ways to identify which pop-culture film or television character most matches your personality, they are in fact advanced psychological profiling tools. The problem is, everyone has now been trained to selectively answer the questions to produce the desired result. This is fantastic if you want to share with the world that your Westeros counterpart is Hodor, it is decidedly unhelpful when seeking psychological help.” Doctor Stanley explained over the phone while I examined my own Social Media quiz results.

“Our research has been sponsored by Cambridge Analytica, who has promised to keep the methodology confidential and has offered to store all research data in their secure servers to ensure patient privacy. However, we are not overly concerned with where the funding for our research comes from, it is important to be transparent in these matters.” Doctor Stanley explained without being prompted.

photo credit: Everett Collection

While research is ongoing, and the study is not expected to be published for peer review until sometime next year, preliminary results are sending shockwaves through the world of psychological research. For example, someone that talks or uses their phone during a movie may have Eremetic, Pompistic, Problematic personality disorders. While those that sit silently, as if begrudgingly watching, and begin to complain enthusiastically and negatively about the film may have Derpoid, or Eremetic personality disorders. Parents that bring extremely young children to the theatre could be Sadistic.

This line of research and unconventional diagnostic theory is not without its critics, who say it is irresponsible to casually hand out a psychological diagnosis. Some would even call it irresponsible Freudian fast food that trivializes personality disorders. Criticism has also come from prominent film-critics who believe it would be more worthwhile to focus on film selection as a window to diagnosing personality disorders, rather than in-theatre behavior, which is subject to change from film to film.

One prominent film-critic speaking anonymously said “those sound like the appropriate diagnosis for those audience members. Although we usually just call them jerks. It’s an interesting idea, go to a movie, come out with a psychological diagnosis, and with luck medication. This might make the movie theatre experience tolerable in a few years. Imagine a polite, highly medicated, audience. Does this doctor have a Kickstarter or a Go-Fund-Me?”

What could be the most bizarre revelation several unnamed film studios have also expressed an interest in this research, in the hopes that it may help them psychology profile perspective audiences. According to an unnamed sourced with an advertising agency contracted with most major studios. They insist this could lead to films that pander to specific personality disorders.

This is not the future of film, or psychology, anyone imagined. Although it could very well be worthwhile to enjoy a film and a diagnosis from a few hours at Freud’s Theatre.

About Kyle J. Steenblik

Kyle J. Steenblik is a resident of Davis County Utah, husband, and father of two children. A local film critic, author, and Podcaster (Utah Outcasts, The Nerd Dome Podcast), with a passion for comedy, fantasy, art, the natural world, science, and discovery, and road trips to various landmarks, and historical sites around the United States. Kyle has been a longtime activist in the hopes of leaving the world a better place for his children. Whether that is through standing up to inequality, injustice, or by adding a little laughter or a good story.