Psychology of Art and Film

Kingston University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Psychology of Art and Film

  • Host University

    Kingston University

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study

    Psychology, Radio - Television - Film

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Substantial prior study of psychology at intermediate level

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Content:

    This module consists of two intertwined topics: the psychology of film and the
    psychology of art in general. The separation of the two topics is simply didactic, as
    film is also a form of art, with a focus on paintings. While on this course, students are
    encouraged to explore, enjoy and use their imagination as well as their critical and
    creative faculties as they ?taste and try? and embark upon an intellectual and
    aesthetic journey.

    Autumn Semester summary: Psychology of Art

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what is it about the human brain that enables us
    to appreciate it? For centuries artists have used pigments or pixels to create a multitude
    of visual effects able to trigger powerful cognitive and emotional responses. Such
    responses result from brain activity, and the aesthetic roots of art perception and
    creativity in the human brain are currently the focus of a wide range of studies.
    Psychology of Art and Film is a young field of study and encompasses a multitude of
    branches of Psychology. The aesthetic experience relates not only to natural beauty but
    also to works of art (including paintings, films, etc).

    ? Art through evolution and history
    ? Art and the Eye
    ? Visit to a museum
    ? Art and Colour
    ? Aesthetics in Art
    ? Art and Motion
    ? Art and Scenes
    ? Art and Pictures

    Spring Semester summary: Psychology of Film

    Why do we watch films? What do they do for us? What do they do to us? To investigate
    the psychology of film allows us to focus on film as a resource which tells us what it is to
    be human. Insights and emotions that result from exposure to the cinematic process, not
    only involves the process of creating moving images to tell a story but also the act of
    watching them and reading them as cultural and historical artefacts. A film may reveal
    much about the social history of the time.

    The focus of interest may be on the content of the film; for example, the story line, the
    morality of the tale, a lesson in how we should or should not live; the personal and
    political dilemmas we face. Alternatively, psychological analysis may concentrate on the
    production: the way in which the script constructs ?the psychological context? or the way
    in which the use of black and white, muted colour tones or incidental music contributes
    to the emotional setting. Whatever aspect of ?being human? film touches in us, the term
    ?psychology? should be interpreted broadly to accommodate the broad range of insights
    and understanding available to us as observers and participants. ?Psychology? may also
    refer to aspects of performance related to or emanating from a state of mind existing in
    the actors, the director, producer or audience. Insights may also be derived from ?the
    dramatization?: the story, characters and historical and cultural setting.

    ? Scenes and Pictures
    ? The Art of Knowing and Feeling
    ? Music and Art
    ? Visual anthropology: The social psychology of art and film
    ? Visual representation as art: Aesthetic principles
    ? Photography: Capturing light in time
    ? The moving image: Film and the human condition
    ? Inferring narrative from art and film: Time and place
    ? Colour and illusion in art and film
    ? Inferring Narrative from Art: Time and Place

    Teaching: Lectures, workshops and seminars

    ? 2000-word reflective essay (50%)
    ? 2,000-word essay (50%)
    STUDY OPTION 2 OR 3: 2,000-word essay (100%)

    Study Option 1 = Whole Year
    Study Option 2 = Autumn
    Study Option 3 = Spring/summer

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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