The film ”One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Milos Forman
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The film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest directed by Milos Forman exemplifies several social psychological theories and influencing behaviours. This film focuses on Mc Murphy’s problems about obedience and conforming, nurse Ratched’s problems with disobedient and nonconformist people and also the situational forces that are affecting the person’s behaviours. The film highlights elements which contribute to all three types of social influence: conformity, compliance and obedience
One example that has links with conformity is being not unique in the society. Mc Murphy who is called Mac represents a character does like he pleases. This means he likes to do anything he wants. That behaviour has link with individual characteristic that do not obey the rules accepted by the society. A conformist person or someone follows the rules accepted by society or a group would not do such that things because they do not want to be labelled as a nonconformist or unique. Unique person means for conformists he or she is externalised from the society. As a result of that conformist people afraid of being unique because they need social supports that help them to show their ideas. As a watcher people can understand from the film that Mac Murphy does not afraid of such things. He brakes the rules oppose the social norms and people can label him as a disobedient or nonconformist.
The social learning theory of shaping others behaviours helps people, who are labelled as disobedient, to change the behaviours of others who can create problems for them. This attitude has a relationship with obedience because people are obeying the social norms. On the other hand people who use this method are not only obeying rules they are also shaping others behaviours. This behaviour is mostly used for to get better conditions and to make people behave more kind for the people labelled disobedient. This behaviour has also positive consequences on improving interpersonal relations. As a watcher we can easily see that Mac
Murphy used that method to destroy the notion of being disobedient while talking to the Dr. Spivey principle of the mental institute by telling ‘ I am here to cooperate with you one hundred percent.’
The minority can influence the majority to take the control but minority has to follow some norms. As a watcher people can see these norms by watching how Mc Murphy influences patients at the mental institute. First of all, he disrupts the established norms and causes doubts and uncertainty in the mind of patients. Secondly he makes himself visible and takes the attention on himself as a minority. he shows that there is an alternative and he demonstrates that it will not move. Finally, majority shifts to minority. This is more effective than majority influence because people go along with what majority wants there is no need to believe in it. On the other hand minority influence makes people believe in the minority’s values.
Rewarding someone is one of the basic methods to make people conform. People watch, listen and read thus they learn indirectly to do those things that have positive consequences for others and they do not do things that get them in trouble. For example Nurse Ratched encourages Billy to start the therapy. She tells him that he will receive a tangible reward if he starts the therapy. This is an example of positive reinforcement because he knows that starting the therapy has positive consequences but when he is offered a reward it is easier to make him do it. In addition to that positive reinforcement makes people more volunteer to do something because they are going to have a reward at the end of the work. It is easy to see making people do something by informational influence is better than rewarding because when people are believed in something that is true they work or do it more efficiently than a rewarding work. But positive reinforcements are very effective to make people conform for a short time and thus this makes people conform but not believed in the importance of it.
Legimate authority generally uses basic methods to make people obey. There are some examples for that in the film like gathering the patients together. Gathering people together is very important for legimate authority because when people are in a group it is easier to communicate with them then they are alone. Communicating with people is important because the authority would not let their mind confuse they should check their ideas and if there is an uncertainty in their mind they should make it clear. This method has link with protecting the majority influence. Majority is same with legitimate authority and as I said before minority starts to influence majority by producing uncertainty in their mind. This is a well known method to protecting from the minority influence
Situational forces have powerful effect on people to conform. One of these situational forces is group pressure. When people are in a group they loose their individuality, they may not want to do the thing group wants to do but they feel themselves responsible to do it after seeing all members of the group want to do it. There are many reasons for that but generally people do not want to appear silly. They need to avoid looking ridiculous in front of others. In the film watchers can see that Harding yields the group pressure and raises his hand. One of the reasons for rising his hand is he did not want to appear silly. In addition to that he wanted to avoid criticism from others because they voted something and everybody raised their hand except him. He likes to be in the group he has fun in that group if he did not raise his hand he would be the man who is not wanted.
In the society all people have a role and these roles have different effect on people. Doctors have powerful effect on people because they are well educated and they are important for human health. People respect them and there is a scene that shows how effective this word is. The seaport guard comes and asks them what are they doing and who are they. Mac tells him that they are doctors of mental institute and the guard cannot stop them because of the word doctor.
As a conclusion, the director of the film shows that there are lots of influencing methods and several psychological methods and these are working on people to affect their behaviours. People are affecting by these attitudes because they are always looking for some rules or a leader that can order them.