Medical Model and Learned Helplessness Term Paper

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¶ … Medical Model and Learned helplessness in the movie, "One flew over the cuckoo's nest"

Towards the nineteenth century, focus on the science of psychology has become prevalent with recent developments in the field, such as the introduction of psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, as well as medical and scientific technologies that probed deeper into the study of human thought and behavior. Parallel to the proliferation of new scientific and medical discoveries in psychology is the prevalence of literary works and visual materials that provide information about psychology, specifically depictions of people diagnosed to have illnesses associated with abnormal psychology.

Abnormal psychology, as a field of study in psychological science, elicits interest among people because it provides a new perspective in understanding human behavior -- that is, actions and behavior that are beyond the capacity of a 'normal' individual, bound by the social norms and rules of the society. Abnormal behavior is often characterized as "deviant, maladaptive, or personally distressful" (Santrock, 2001:448). However, among these characteristics, abnormal behavior is almost always considered as deviant; deviant behavior is characterized as "atypical behavior...that deviates from acceptable norms." The prevalence of atypical behavior in human society resulted to the development of psychological theories and models explaining a specific abnormal behavior or phenomenon.

This paper focuses on the issue of abnormal psychological theories and models that is reflected in a popular visual material, which is "One flew over the cuckoo's nest," led by Jack Nicholson. In this movie, each character depicts a particular abnormal behavior, and this is the focus of discussion and analysis of the paper: identifying the psychological theory or model prevalent in the movie, and associate these theories or models in the analysis of the plot or characters in "Cuckoo's nest." Thus, this paper posits that Nicholson's character, McMurphy, and his wardmates in the mental institution reflect vital principles parallel with the thesis of the medical model and learned helplessness phenomenon, respectively.

McMurphy, as the lead character of the story, depicts the stereotypes often associated with individuals afflicted with mental illness: upon his admittance to the mental institution, he had showed rowdiness in character, often upsetting the daily routines of the institution. He creates an annoying character for the institution's staff in order to convince that he, indeed, is mentally unstable, and in the process, avoiding penalty and imprisonment for having sexual relations with an underage girl.

Dr Spivey's characterization of McMurphy as "belligerent, talked when unauthorized, been resentful in attitude toward work in general... lazy" are descriptions arising from Nurse Ratched's and the institution's staff's daily observations of his behavior and daily interaction with his ward mates. His conscious and convincing effort to appear insane to Nurse Ratched had its dire results, however. It is quite a paradox that within an institution, abnormal behavior is considered 'normal,' or is usually encountered by people there. Nurse Ratched's intolerance of McMurphy's behavior is not based on the fact that he acts abnormal, but rather, he acts like a normal individual in the institution when he should be showing abnormal behavior and actions, like the others.

Thus, with the preponderance of the belief in medical science during the late 20th century that abnormal behavior stems from biological causes, Nurse Ratched and her staff… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Medical Model and Learned Helplessness.  (2004, November 22).  Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/medical-model-learned-helplessness/9908623

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"Medical Model and Learned Helplessness."  22 November 2004.  Web.  20 January 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/medical-model-learned-helplessness/9908623>.

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"Medical Model and Learned Helplessness."  Essaytown.com.  November 22, 2004.  Accessed January 20, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/medical-model-learned-helplessness/9908623.