Demons of the Mind: the Interactions of the 'Psy' Sciences and Cinema in the Sixties

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Art, Media and American Studies

Abstract

The 1960s was a period of intense struggles over knowledge about the human mind, with psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts in deep conflict. This was the period of professional and public arguments over the use of psychotropic and antipsychotic drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery, as well as issues such as the role of personality and genetics in human behaviour, children's emotional development, obedience and bystander apathy, the relationship between cinema and psychosis, psychology's role in defining sexuality and women's oppression, the popularisation of psychotherapy, and the anti-psychiatry movement. It was also a period in which cinema and audiences became preoccupied with the 'demons of the mind', with horror, science fiction, crime, and thriller films becoming increasingly significant ways in which psychological theories and new research findings were disseminated and debated within the public sphere. British and American cinema invested heavily financially and creatively in exploring child development, attachment and 'mothering', psychogenetics, psychopathy and personality disorders within overlapping cycles of genre films featuring the most celebrated directors and stars (William Wyler, Otto Preminger, Alfred Hitchcock, Lawrence Olivier, Noel Coward, Audrey Hepburn) and luminaries of New Hollywood and the British New Wave (Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Jack Clayton, Karel Reisz, Terence Stamp). Many of these films were Anglo-American co-productions that integrated national cinematic traditions and talent in appealing to both British and American markets.

This project will provide the first comprehensive account of the complex contestations and cross-pollinations of the psy sciences in this defining period as the influence of psychology and allied sciences expanded into everyday political, public and private lives in Britain and America. The project will explore the divergences and intersections of the two national cultures and bodies of medical thought, at a time when, as in cinema culture, there was significant traffic but also marked distinctions. The outputs from this project will therefore provide vital contributions to the history of science and medicine. In addition, the project will trace how key developments in the psy sciences interacted with popular cinema and other media in the 'long Sixties' period of the mid-1950s to early-1970s, when popular culture made an unprecedented intervention into debates regarding human psychology. The project will, therefore, also provide a significant contribution to media and film studies by seeking to understand Sixties cinema culture's fixation with the psychological not as unconscious meanings or subject positions, but rather as conscious and contested intermediations of medical, psychological, and psychiatric discourses and practices; these films were promoted as representing conjoined 'breakthroughs' in science and cinema.

Through its research methods, personnel, and dissemination, this project will bring historians of science and medicine, science communication scholars, media and film studies academics, and psy science professionals into productive dialogue. It will also provide vital experience, mentoring, and training for the early career researcher (PI) and postdoctoral researcher in working with leading academics within and outside their fields of expertise. The project will facilitate productive collaboration between the leading Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at University of Manchester and one of UK's longest established centres for Film, Television and Media Studies at University of East Anglia. In addition, the project's partnership with the British Science Association will introduce humanities approaches into the science festival circuit, which is currently dominated by scientific perspectives.

Planned Impact

This collaborative, interdisciplinary project is designed so that a number of groups will benefit - directly and indirectly - from the impact of this research.

Firstly, in partnership with the British Science Association, the project will contribute humanities perspectives to science engagement. The project findings will be disseminated and discussed at a series of national and regional science festivals, where academic engagement events are dominated by scientific perspectives. Embracing the AHRC's remit in fostering more humanities-led events at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival, we will work with the BSA to develop engagement events for the UK's leading science festival and five other regional science festivals drawing on media studies and science communication perspectives. These will include events for the Manchester Science Festival and Science Outreach in Norfolk, in addition to other educational and engagement events being developed and organized with the British Science Association (see letter of support). Impact will be measured by quantitative and qualitative measures, including evaluative exit questionnaires with attendees, testimonials from organisers and partners, and measuring attendance / financial metrics.

Secondly, the project is designed to foster dialogue between humanities and science academics and mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counsellors, patient advocacy groups). This will be formalised in designated panels at the 'psychology, science and cinema' international workshop at UEA, where we will explore the historical role and representation of the psychological professions and mental health concerns within the media, and the influence and implications of these representations in the present. We will also communicate project findings and engage in dialogues within popular psychology journals and professional publications, introducing humanities knowledge into these psychological forums. Impact will be measured by number / diversity of attendees, quantitative and qualitative questionnaires with academics and mental health professionals, and online feedback via science forums (in conjunction with BSA/ Science Museum).

Thirdly, the project will seek to engage the public in discussions about the media and mental health. We plan to deliver a series of six film screenings in year two - three in Norwich (Cinema City) and three in Manchester (HOME) - with introductions and Q and As with the project team and invited mental health professionals and advocacy groups. The project will also seek to tie into film seasons and adult education events being developed for the National Film Theater by the British Film Institute (a collaboration between the project team, BSA and BFI around the theme of Science and Cinema is being discussed with the Head of Scholarship at the BFI and Head of Engagement at the BSA). Impact will be measured by quantitative and qualitative measures including evaluative exit questionnaires, attendance data and financial metrics.

Finally, the project will disseminate the project research and findings more widely through a project website and regular blog; and through blog posts and articles across a range of news and social media sites. The timeline for research and dissemination (2017-2019) has been devised to map onto 50th anniversaries of key moments in cinema and psy science history, that will be used to promote media and public interest. Impact will be measured through the project website by measuring hits and onsite interactivity, and through social media (Twitter/ Facebook) through posts, likes and shares.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1) The project has been successful in comprehensively mapping the complex contestations and cross-pollinations of the 'psy' sciences (psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis), cinema and popular discourse in the defining long-Sixties period of the mid-1950s to early-1970s. New findings resulting from this historical archival research include: identifying the central role of 'psy' professionals in censorship and rating decisions within the British Board of Film Censors (UK) and the Classification and Rating Administration (US) in the 1960s and early 1970s. This challenges the scholarship on British and, to a lesser extent, US censorship. Our research has also highlighted the extent to which mental health professionals had a creative influence on the formal and narrative decisions of filmmakers in regard to story development, scriptwriting, cinematography, editing etc (not just acting as 'fact checking' consultants). Conversely, we also identified the influence of 'event' films and TV texts (eg: In Two Minds [1967]) in exacerbating contestations and divergences between psy professionals regarding putative causes, diagnosis and treatment of conditions. These high profile media events also influenced the direction of mental health institutions such as National Association for Mental Health in the UK.
2) Within our textual analysis for the project we identified the key role of authenticating objects (Rorschachs, genomes etc) in validating the ideological perspectives of the media texts. This finding is the basis for our plans to collaborate with the Science Museum on funding for a future exhibition.
3) The project has made headway in fostering a productive dialogue between humanities and sciences scholars and mental health professionals. This has been achieved through a range of panel discussions and workshops at national and regional Science Festivals, a two-day symposium at the Science Museum and a range of film screening events. This has resulted in plans to formalise the research network that has been developed across the project period.
4) The project fostered productive collaborations and knowledge exchange through its partnership with the British Science Association. Feedback from mental health professionals and the public across the range of Science Festival events and public screenings delivered reported increased awareness of the vital role cinema and other media has played in historically shaping and circulating understandings of mental health and their reverberations in the present.
Exploitation Route 1) Our research outcomes provoke further academic investigation into the convergences and cross-pollinations of the 'psy' sciences and popular culture both within and beyond our period of study. This aim is being taken forward by the interdisciplinary network of humanities and science scholars developed within the project period.
2) The project was successful in fostering dialogue between mental health professionals and (medical) humanities academics. For example, watching and discussing a range of films with clinicians who work with Dissociative Identity Disorder we identified a range of historical tropes and their continued relevance to public perceptions and the understanding of people with disassociate conditions about their own experiences. There is potential to build upon this research on legacy of representations which was outside the scope of this project.
3) Through our collaboration with the British Science Association on a range of Science Festival events we increased awareness of mental health issues and their representation from a humanities perspective. There is the potential to build upon this approach within the education and cultural heritage sectors.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.psychologyandcinema.com/
 
Description British Science Association Science Festivals 
Organisation British Science Association
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The project team has offered academic expertise in planning and delivering Science Festival events. For the BSA and their partners, the key contribution is us introducing humanities perspectives into science festivals, which tend to be dominated by science perspectives. This is adding to a dialogue between the humanities and sciences, and engaging the public and professionals in discussions about the media and mental health. We have also fostered a partnership between BSA and the film education charity INTO Film for plans to collaborate on Science Week events.
Collaborator Contribution The BSA are contributing an in-kind contribution in the form of staff time and expertise, in developing engagement events that have / will tour selected UK science festivals within the period of the project.The BSA are also putting the project team in contact with psy professionals and science academics who have / will contribute to our academic workshops and public engagement events. BSA Head of Engagement is also on our project Steering Committee.
Impact British Science Festival event (multi-disciplinary) in September 2017 and screening event in Manchester in February 2018 (reported in engagement section), and planning British and Regional Science Festival events for 2018 (including Hull, Norwich and Manchester).
Start Year 2017
 
Description Demons of the Mind Film Series, Anthony Burgess Foundation Manchester, March-June 2017. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Demons of the Mind film series. Project team curated six screenings at the Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester for the public, academics and psy professionals. The screenings attracted audiences of between 30-80 depending on the film. The project team of Snelson, Macualey and Kirby introduced / led discussion for three of the films, with the other three introduced by guest speakers Dr Michael Pettit (York University, Toronto), Dr Elizabeth Toon (University of Manchester), Dr Amy C. Chambers (Newcastle University). The discussions were lively and fostered dialogue between the public, students, academics and psy professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.anthonyburgess.org/event/demons-repulsion/
 
Description Demons of the Mind symposium, Dana Centre, The Science Museum, London 4th-5th September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The symposium brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, researchers, media practitioners, psy professionals and advocacy groups to critically examine the relationship between psy sciences and cinema during the long 1960s period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) and its legacies. Agreed to explore plans for an interdisciplinary network of academics and mental health professionals, and agreed to partner with Science Museum on follow on funding for an exhibition using media content and relevant museum objects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Family Life (1971) screening and panel discussion, Cinema City, Norwich, 14th May 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Free screening and discussion of the Ken Loach film Family Life (1971) during Mental Health Awareness Week. Following the screening there was a short panel discussion between the Demons of the Mind project team, a pychodynamic counsellor from Driftwood Counselling and the audience. Written audience feedback expressed changes in opinion regarding the role
and interventions of media in mental health awareness and interest expressed in other such events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/family-life-1971-screening-and-panel-discussion-tickets-45130049192#
 
Description In Two Minds (1967) with Q and A with producer Tony Garnett, Kings College London, 5th June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Working in collaboration with King's College's '1968 and Its Legacies' series we offered a rare public screening of the BBC television play In Two Minds and a productive Q and A with producer Tony Garnett, asking about his personal and political motivations for making the television play, its collaborative production processes working with R.D. Laing and other 'radical psychiatrists', and its contested reception within medical journals and the mainstream media. Audience reported wider understanding of media's role and interventions in mental health policy and awareness, and the project team was able to foster a productive collaboration and dialogue with King's May 1968 project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://1968.kcl.ac.uk/welcome/films/
 
Description Interview for local news relating to Shuttered Room film screening 27th November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Snelson interviewed for news report on Anglia News (link below) and Easter Daily Press relating to archival footage unearthed within the project research: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/norfolk-shot-horror-film-screened-fifty-years-on-1-5290009 News report fostered attendance / discussion at engagement event and emails expressing interest in the research from UK and US.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2017-11-27/the-movie-makers-mill-fire-that-caused-uproar-in-a-...
 
Description Interview with Ken Loach 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Interview by Snelson (PI) with legendary British director Ken Loach and screening of his 1967 BBC Play In Two Minds for the Locating Medical Television: The Televisual Spaces of Medicine and Health in the 20th Century International Conference in November 2020. It was organised by ERC BodyCapital, Université de Strasbourg & the Science Museum Dana Research Centre, with the support of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.psychologyandcinema.com/uncategorised/ken-loach-in-conversation-on-in-two-minds-1967-and-...
 
Description Project website with interactive timeline and blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Project website has attracted interest from other academics, students, educators, authors and the general public with contact made through contact form, emails to project team and tweets. Blogs promoted / retweeted through external audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.psychologyandcinema.com/
 
Description Psycho- shaping mental health narratives?, Norwich Science Festival, Cinema City, 24th October 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Special screening of Psycho and panel discussion between film academics and mental health professionals about the significant and sustained influence of Psycho on mental health narratives. Panel made up of Dr Tim Snelson, Senior Lecturer in Media History at UEA, Remy Aquarone, an Analytical Psychotherapist and Director of the Pottergate Centre for Dissociation and Trauma, and Melanie Goodwin, Voluntary Director and Trainer at First Person Plural. Audience reported more in depth understanding of mental health issues and panel expressed shift in understanding of cinema's role in mental health awareness.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://norwichsciencefestival.co.uk/events/demons-of-the-mind/
 
Description Psycho: Film Screening and panel Q and A, Cheltenham Festival, 8th June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Free screening and panel discussion programmed for the Cheltenham Science Festival Fringe.Panel was composed of neuroscientist Sarah Garfinkel and science historian William Macauley. Event intended to provoke dialogue between humanities and sciences and bring humanities perspectives to Science Festival circuit as planned in impact strategy / partnership agreement with British Science Association.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://cheltenhamfestivals-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/File/14831.pdf
 
Description Psycho: shaping mental health narratives? Film screening of Psycho (1960) and panel discussion with Dr Tim Snelson, Dr Sarah Garfinkel, and Dr Adam Rutherford, British Science Festival, Brighton,8th September 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Screening of Psycho and panel discussion with media historian Tim Snelson, neuroscientist Sarah Garfinkel and broadcaster Adam Rutherford to debate the films influence on mental health narratives. Event organised with British Science Association to bring more humanities perspectives into national science festivals. Audience of 100+ (public, academics, psy professionals) very responsive and engaged in dialogue with panel and each other.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.britishsciencefestival.org/event/psycho-shaping-mental-health-narratives/
 
Description Radio Norfolk report on Repulsion screening featuring interview with Snelson, edited parts of group discussion and audience responses to the film and discussion. 14th February 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact 10 minute radio report on Repulsion cinema screening and public discussion led by Snelson on Stephen Bumfrey show on Radio Norfolk. Audience responses within the radio report and wider discussion highlight shift in perception regarding media's role in circulating mental health ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05vxddx
 
Description Repulsion (1965) film screening introduced by Snelson and discussion with audience, Cinema City, Norwich, 11 February 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Introduction to Repulsion and discussion with audience about the use of psychological theories of perception and clinical thinking on schizophrenia within the film, and intervention of psy professionals in the production process. Subsequent discussion with general public, academics and psy professionals fostered dialogue between these groups and reports of changes in views on role of media in circulating and contesting medical thought.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.psychologyandcinema.com/event/repulsion-philosophers-at-the-cinema/
 
Description Screening of Limitless (2011) introduced by Dr David Kirby for British Science Association Manchester. The Lass O'Gowrie, 22 February 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Project CI David Kirby introduced screening and discussion on psychology / science of Limitless for BSA Manchester event. Discussion / questions afterward.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://v.imgins.com/bsamanchester
 
Description The Exorcist: Film Screening and Panel Discussion, British Science Festival, Truck Theater, Hull, 13th September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Special screening of The Exorcist (1973) and panel discussion with project team and Lucy Brett from the British Board of Film Classification, exploring the film's psychological influence, censorship and reception. Science Festival audience reported changes in views on relationship between cinema, science, psychology and religion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.britishsciencefestival.org/event/the-exorcist/
 
Description The Shuttered Room (1967) film screening and panel discussion, The Forum Norwich, 27th November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This free screening event was intended to engage the general public in discussion about three ongoing AHRC-funded projects being undertaken at UEA. 97 people attended this public screening and engaged in discussion with three UEA academics (Tim Snelson, Melanie Williams, Keith Johnston) regarding the film's relevancy to the three ongoing projects: Snelson discussed the film's engagement with psychological theories and debates in the 1960s, particularly around twin genetics. In the discussion afterwards the audience reported a change in views about the role of film in circulating psychological and medical ideas. The event also garnered local press and TV news reports.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://hallowed-histories.org/the-shuttered-room/
 
Description The Three Faces of Eve (1957) screening and panel discussion, Manchester Science Festival 22nd October 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Screening and panel discussion explored the interactions between cinema and the psy sciences,and the influence of this film on mental health narratives with mental health professionals and historians. Professor David A. Kirby chaired panel including Historian of Science Dr Ray Macauely, forensic psychologist Professor Kathryn Abel, clinical psychologist Dr Richard Brown, and dissociative disorder specialist Dr. Cleo van Velsen. Audience reported more in depth understanding of mental health issues and panel expressed shift in understanding of cinema's role in mental health awareness.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.manchestersciencefestival.com/event/three-faces-of-eve/
 
Description The Three Faces of Eve (1957), Cinema City, Norwich, 15th May 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Free screening and discussion of The Three Faces of Eve (1957) during Mental Health Awareness Week.The Hollywood melodrama The Three Faces of Eve was based on a best-selling book by two American psychiatrists who worked with a client they diagnosed with 'multiple personality disorder' (now dissociative identity disorder) in the 1950s. Following the screening there was a panel discussion about D.I.D. between the Demons of the Mind project team, a psychoanalyst from The Pottergate Centre for Dissociation and Trauma, a trustee from First Person Plural with a diagnosis of D.I.D., and the audience. The mental health professionals expressed a shift in their opinion on the historical role of media in mental health awareness, whilst the audience expressed a wider understanding of D.I.D. as a condition and its representation within the media. The panel members agreed to collaborate further on the project for an event for Norwich Science Week.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-three-faces-of-eve-1957-screening-and-panel-discussion-tickets-45...
 
Description Twitter account for project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Twitter account serves to promote engagement events and blogs, directing people to project website and booking for Science Festivals / screenings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://twitter.com/PsyCinema