Psychological Theories of Creativity and the Film "Phenomemon"

Essay by raouldukerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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Integrally, psychology is the study of the correlated effects of ideas, behaviors and environments. As researchers delve deeper into unexplored areas of psychology, such as neuroscience, Hollywood movie producers have encountered an array of unique plot opportunities. Turteltaub's Phenomenon exemplifies this increasingly popular trend in today's films. The psychological background of this particular film are perhaps best made clear by the physiological and humanistic approaches.

The humanistic and biological means toward reaching self-actualization differ mainly in the sources of creativity each holds. The biological approach asserts that through genetics, arousal level, and emotional intelligence an individual's potential is rigidly defined. On the other hand, the humanistic approach states that a sense of purpose can drive an individual to overcome physical and emotional limits (McCarthy, 1990). With effort, once the individual conquers these hurdles, simple healing steps can lead to transcendence. The subject of Phenomenon, George Malley, finds new creativity that can be described by both the physiological and humanistic perspectives.


George Malley is a small town car mechanic, a likeable man who is struggling to learn Spanish whilst trying to work up the courage to ask Lace, a reclusive single mother, out on a date. But his sedate life changes dramatically when on the evening of his thirty seventh birthday he sees lights in the sky and blacks out. From then on he finds it almost impossible to sleep and his friends start to notice differences in him.

His intelligence is amazing enough, but when he shows talents in less conventional areas, such as telekenisis, many of the town's folks become nervous and even afraid. Despite the fact that he is doing nothing but good, they begin to draw away from him. All that is, except Nate, his best friend, the town doctor, and Lace. The three of...