EKU Broadcast and Electronic Media Major presents his Honors Thesis
Mayson Rainwater, a senior Broadcasting and Electronic Media major, presented his honors thesis project, “Stigma in Cinema: Mental Illness’ Representation in Film,” during the spring 2018 Honors Thesis Conference sponsored by the Eastern Kentucky University Honors program. Associate Professor Chad Cogdill served as his thesis adviser.
The presentation addressed the depiction of psychology represented in major motion pictures and examined how filmmakers deal with portrayals of film characters associated with themes of mental therapy, research and diagnoses, and a further focus on positive and negative representations of the subjects within the realm of abnormal psychology. His analysis included depictions of characters who exhibited Dissociative Identity Disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and various others. He also examined whether filmmakers provide accurate or misleading portrayals of particular mental conditions. His deep research into various classifications of mental disorders was based on the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Mayson’s research included a variety of films that span seven decades of American filmmaking. Some examples included Harvey, Fight Club, American Psycho, Psycho, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Three Faces of Eve.
His thesis included not only an analysis of the depictions of psychology in film, and the psychological practices and treatment of abnormal psychology, but the additional examination of how film production techniques played a role in expressing ideas and messages associated with mental disorders. Mayson’s critique also focused on whether films have evolved over time, if these portrayals of mental illness have evolved for better or worse, and if they counter the cultural stigma and stereotypes usually associated with mental illness.
During his time as a BEM - Film Techniques and Technology major, he directed his first short film, We’ll Meet Again, and has acted and participated in various student short film projects. Mayson, who is graduating as an Honors Scholar in May of 2018, has plans to pursue work in the film industry after graduation.
Published on April 13, 2018