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Welcome to AP Psychology! I have high expectations for this class and demand students to put in the required effort necessary to succeed. My goal is for every student enrolled in this class to pass the AP Exam in May and earn college credit. That requires dedication, enthusiasm, and hard work on both our parts. I will do my job and I expect you to do yours. This summer assignment is designed to help you get a jump start on understanding Psychology. All parts of the assignment are due the first day of school-you must bring it to me in room B-238. If you have any questions please see me at school or email me at I am looking forward to working with you. –Mr. Haines
Psychology Movies: An Accurate Portrayal?

Psychology has always been a popular topic within the movies; however, there has been concern raised within the discipline that its portrayal in general along with that of psychologists and psychological disorders has been far from accurate on the whole.

Indeed, such was the concern surrounding psychology movies that in 1998 members of the media psychology division of the American Psychological Society established a Media Watch Committee to examine the way psychologists, particularly therapists were portrayed in movies, television shows and books.

"If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed," said the great filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick, many years ago. Movies have much to offer the profession of psychology, teaching the viewer about what it means to suffer, to succeed, to express strength, and to rise above challenges. Any good student would be wise to also look for misconceptions of not only their future profession (films are infamous for inaccurate portrayals of psychologists) but also for misconceptions that stigmatize people who have mental illness or who suffer in some way.


  1. Become A Psychology Movies Film Critic

You will select two movies from the list provided and give a movie review which will include the following-

  • Summary of the film

  • What psychological disorder is portrayed in the film? How accurate is the portrayal?

  • How are the psychologists/treatments portrayed in the film? How accurate is the portrayal?

  • Your opinion of the film. Give the film a viewing rating (how many stars/must see/etc.).

Requirements-Typed, Minimum 2-pages (plus a title page and works cited page-4 pages minimum) per film, 12 Font-Times New Roman, Double Spaced, Works cited page-MLA format

  1. Impact on Society

  • After watching these films write an essay on how these films impact/reflect society. How does their accurate or inaccurate portrayal of disorders/psychologists/treatments/etc. cause people to interpret/interact differently? Use specific examples, other resources/research, and personal experiences to provide evidence of your conclusion.

Requirements-Typed, Minimum 2-pages (plus a title page and works cited page-4 pages minimum), 12 Font-Times New Roman, Double Spaced, Works cited page-MLA format

  1. Book Review-Choose one book from the list below.

-Book Review must include the following:

a. Title page

b. Typed, 12 Font-Times New Roman, Double Spaced

c. Proper citation

d. Three page minimum

- Summarize the book, setting, characters, plot, and key events

- Describe the mental illness observed and a clinical description of the mental illness

- Explain what you have learned from the book compared to what you knew about the

illness before

  1. Complete the attached worksheets. This assignment was generated by last year’s class to assist you in getting started.

Helpful Websites/Resources






Movie List

1. “Primal Fear” This bone-tingling thriller from director Gregory Hoblit stars Richard Gere as a high-profile defense lawyer who volunteers to defend a Kentucky altar boy (Edward Norton) accused of murdering an archbishop. The film features riveting performances by Gere and Norton, whose character is diagnosed with multiple personality order. MPAA-R

2. “Good Will Hunting” features breakthrough roles for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who also co-scripted this story of a rebellious MIT janitor who also happens to be a mathematical genius. Robin Williams picked up an Oscar for his role as a compassionate therapist who teaches Damon’s character to confront his troubled past. MPAA-R

3. “A Clockwork Orange” This 1971 film set in a futuristic dystopia solidified Stanley Kubrick’s position as one of the great filmmakers of his generation. Darkly satirical and at times both shocking and hilarious, “A Clockwork Orange” tells the story of an impudent delinquent forced to undergo experimental corrective treatment that involves repeated viewings of unspeakable acts. MPAA-R

4. “Girl, Interrupted” Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, 19-year-old Susanna played by Winona Ryder is committed to an all-female psychiatric institute in this 1999 drama. The film also features stellar performances by Angelina Jolie as the resident hellraiser and Vanessa Regrave as Susana’s psychiatrist. MPAA-R

5. “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” This outstanding film adaptation of the popular Ken Kesey novel of the same name picked up a slew of Oscars including best actor for Jack Nicholson and best director for Milos Forman. The film stars Nicholson as the free-thinking psychiatric patient who leads his fellow inmates to rebel against the oppressive Nurse Ratched. MPAA-R

6. “What About Bob?” Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus co-star in this hilarious portrayal of a psychiatric patient, Bob, who follows his doctor on what was supposed to be a relaxing family vacation by the lake. The film proves even the best psychology movies can make you laugh. MPAA-PG-13

7. “A Beautiful Mind” This fascinating true story portrays the life of prominent mathematician John Forbes Nash who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Nash, played by Russell Crowe, works to expose what he perceives to be a government controversy as his wife, Jennifer Connelly comes to terms with his disorder. MPAA-PG-13

8. “Silver Linings Playbook” is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell. The film stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Cooper plays Patrick "Pat, Jr." Solitano, a man with bipolar disorder who is released from a psychiatric hospital and moves back in with his parents. Determined to win back his estranged wife, Pat meets recently-widowed Tiffany Maxwell (Lawrence). She tells Pat that she will help him get his wife back if he enters a dance competition with her. The two become closer as they train and Pat, his father, and Tiffany examine their relationships with each other as they cope with their disorders. MPAA-R

9. “Analyze This”-MPAA-R

10. “Fight Club”-MPAA-R

11. As Good As It Gets”-MPAA-PG-13

12. Benny and Joon-MPAA-PG-13

13. Awakenings-MPAA-PG-13

14. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape-MPAA-PG-13

15. Don Juan DeMarco-MPAA-PG-13

Other possible movies- Grumpy Old Men, On Golden Pond, Silence of the Lambs, Rainman, Sybil, The Three Faces of Eve, Nell, I Am Sam, Ordinary People, Shutter Island

AP Psychology Reading List

Tuesday’s With Morrie- Mith Albom

In Cold Blood- Truman Capote

How to Win Friends and Influence People-Dale Carnegie

When Rabbit Howls-Trudi Chase

All Around the Town- Mary Higgins Clark

The Miracle Worker-William Gibson

I’m Ok, You’re Ok- Thomas Harris

When the Bough Breaks-Jonathan Kellerman

The Best Little Girl in the World-Steven Levenkron

Total Recall- Joan Minniger

Starving for Attention-Cherry Boone O’Neil

The Road Less Traveled-Scott M. Peck

A Child Called It (Trilogy)-David Pelzer

The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath

The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing-Judith Rapport

Genie- Russ Rymer

Sybil-Flora R. Schreiber

Walden Two: Beyond Freedom and Dignity- B.F. Skinner

Prozac Nation- Elizabeth Wurtzel

Breakdown of Summer Assignment

  1. Essay Movie #1-50 Points

  2. Essay Movie #2- 50 Points

  3. Essay Impact on Society- 50 Points

  4. Essay Book Review- 60 Points

  5. Worksheet Assignments- 50 Points

Part 1: The History of Psychology

  1. For the first part of your summer assignment you will make 15 notecards on important people in psychology. State what their experiment(s) were and their importance to the field of psychology. These people can be found in the list below.

Solomon Asch

Albert Bandura

Albert Elis

Erik Erikson

Sigmund Freud

Harry Harlow

Lawrence Kohlberg

Abraham Maslow

Stanley Milgram

Ivan Pavlov

Jean Piaget

Carl Rogers

B. F. Skinner

John Watson

Wilhelm Wundt

  1. On the next several pages, label and describe the diagrams given. Become familiar with the diagrams as you will be quizzed on them during the first week of class.

Ooooooooooooooo'>Brain Labels

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Eye Labels