Topical Blog 4/7 10pm - Deer Hunter


Covering chapters 10-13, you know what to do!


Deer Hunter fits the role of a ‘classical’ movie in many different ways. One way is that it is a very slow paced movie, which is made very clear by the wedding taking up about the first hour. The entire length of the movie, almost three hours, also fits a slowed paced movie definition in my opinion just because I do not believe there are too many movies nowadays that are near that length. Because the movie lasts so long it makes sense that were would be segments or clear, separate sections. The first segment is mainly the wedding, which seems to allow the viewers to get to know the main characters in their natural setting. The characters’ natural setting is a small steel-town in 1968 Pennsylvania, where everyone knows everyone and also where there is a lot of closeness between everyone. One concept from chapters 10-13 that can describe the town or community is ‘Happiness’. Within the concept of happiness, there are two set points that human beings possess, ‘positive emotionality’ and ‘negative emotionality’. The wedding does a good job of demonstrating the two different set points with different characters. Clear examples of positive emotionality are demonstrated by everyone congratulating Steven and Angela, and by everyone drinking and having a good time. One clear example of negative emotionality is the interaction between Michael’s character and a marine at the bar by the soldier cursing at Michael and refusing to offer him any advice before Michael and the others head to Vietnam.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, there is a lot of closeness between members of the town, and the clearest/most important example of this is the closeness of Michael’s, Nick’s and Steven’s characters. They joke around and give each other a hard time, but it is made very clear that they are a tight group of guys. As the various parts of the first segment play out, each character’s ‘Consistent Self’ shows little by little. Steven is a nice, loving guy, which is made clear in that he marries Angela who is pregnant with another man’s baby, but he still nonetheless loves her. Nick is a quiet guy who loves to hunt, and Michael is the most serious of the three, and he is also the “leader” of the group. The brief descriptions I just gave about each character help describe each character’s ‘Identity’ or ‘Role’. Both of those concepts describe how a self interacts and how it understands to act and not to act within a certain cultural context. With each character being different in slight ways and still sharing some common interests, the three characters put together do a good job of balancing each other out.
The next segment of the movie is what the movie is based around, the time that Michael, Steven, and Nick serve in Vietnam. Obviously each character has to go outside of its usual role, identity, or consistent self, during the majority of this segment of the movie. There are many concepts that can describe everything that happens during this part of the movie. One of those concepts is the ‘Six Facets of Well-Being’, which include: self-acceptance, positive interpersonal relations, autonomy, purpose in life, environmental mastery, and personal growth. It is very clear that each character does not possess all of these facets during their entire time in Vietnam. Another concept that applies well to this part of the movie, which is related to autonomy, one of the Six Facets of Well-Being, is ‘Control’. Within control there are two main types, ‘perceived control’ and ‘desire for control’. I would say that Michael’s character has a high desire for control, which he makes clear in that he assumes the leadership role of the group. I also would say that Steven’s character believes he has low perceived control during his time in Vietnam because all he wants to do is return home to Angela. One more concept that applies well to this part of the movie is ‘Sensation Seeking’, which the characters demonstrate the desire for by wanting to play Russian Roulette. The characters having the desire to play this dangerous game could also apply to autonomy or desire for control, in terms of them wanting to have the ability to choose to do something that they want to do. One more idea that might explain why the characters wanted to play Russian Roulette is ‘Arousal’, which explains that when people are underaroused they seek out opportunities to increase their arousal levels.
The last segment or major section of the movie is when the characters return home. I should be careful in saying that because Nick’s character does not return home because he remains in Saigon, and unfortunately/accidentally shoots himself in the head. Another unfortunate part of Nick shooting himself in the head is that Michael witnesses the action. Part of his emotional process with dealing with this accident can be explained by the concept of ‘Appraisal’. Within appraisal there are two steps/parts ‘primary appraisal’ and ‘secondary appraisal’. Primary appraisal is the process in which a person estimates if an action has anything at stake for them, which in the case of Nick shooting himself in the head, the loss of a close friend is what is at stake for Michael. Secondary appraisal is the process in which a person assesses their ability to cope with the possible benefit, harm, or threat of an action. Applying that concept to the example of Nick’s suicide, Michael and everyone else that was close with Nick has to assess their ability to cope with the action of losing a cared about one.

Terms: 1) 6 Facets of Well-Being 2) Consistent Self 3) Identity 4) Role 5) Appraisal 6) Primary Appraisal 7) Secondary Appraisal 8) Happiness 9) Positive Emotionality 10) Negative Emotionality 11) Arousal 12) Sensation Seeking 13) Control 14) Perceived Control 15) Desire for Control

The Deer Hunter is a movie about three men’s experiences in the Vietnam War. The movie depicts the character’s life before, during, and after the war and gives an intense illustration of the effects war can have on people’s lives and personalities. Even though personalities are typically considered to be stable over time, The Deer Hunter illustrates how such a significant life-event can change a person’s entire sense of self and worth. Deer Hunter really demonstrates the changing experiences that an individual can go through, and how the transition takes place and the consequences that it can bring.

In the beginning of the movie, we see three characters that are all living pretty carefree. All of the characters experience high levels of both happiness and arousal. Additionally, they seem to have perceived control over their lives as seen in their choices to get married, spend time together, and choose to go into the military. They also seem to show some level of sensation seeking, as they wish to get out of their town and join the military. This is depicted throughout a large chunk of the movie, mainly during the wedding scene. The men talk about their future and their goals and the things they are striving for in their lives.

As stated, the character seem to have perceived control over their lives by being noble and serving their country. Their perception is not accurate and they find out the amount of control they have has greatly diminished. Their ideal state is that they are war heroes and that they make something of themselves. After entering the war, the characters realize the disconnect between their ideal state and their present state and see that in reality they have little to no control over their environment. Specifically, all sense of control is taken away from them when they are POWs in Vietnam. All of them are locked in a cage in water and randomly selected to point a gun at their own head with one bullet inside. This tactic strips the characters of all control over their lives and is a form of psychological torture.

Michael is able to keep some level of composure in the beginning of the war scenes. He acts as kind of a leader and strategist for his friends. The obvious goal of all of the characters is survival, but Michael stays the most determined to accomplish this goal. Because of the behaviors he exudes, I would say that Michael has a low desire for control. He shows this by not being as effected by his surroundings as his friends are. Additionally, Michael seems to be the strongest character throughout the movie. This is seen both during the war when he continually attempts to save Steve’s life and is trying to gain environmental mastery and will not give up. This is seen again toward the end of the movie when he is still concerned about his friends’ health. Michael goes back into Vietnam in order to save his friend Nick. I think that self-perception theory helps to explain his motives. This theory states that doing is believing, so Michael going back to Vietnam is his way of proving to himself and therefore believing that Nick is still alive. This adds to his emotional struggle because Michael promised that he wouldn’t leave Nick over there.

Probably the most prominent part of the book that I thought related to the movie was in chapter 13 and the discussion about the desire for control and losing control. We see Nick starting to lose his self-acceptance when he plays roulette with the gun by choice. He clearly feels he has lost all control over his environment but still has a desire for it.

Military life was an example given in the book of a circumstance in which the people have no control, and Nick’s character demonstrates this theory. This scene really shows that he has had enough and has kind of lost his sense of self and his perceived control over what happens in his life. We find out later that Nick ends of continuing to play this game in order to make money. At this point, he has completely lost his sense of self and his identity. However, he seems to have come to terms with his lack of control. He starts to embrace the game of chance by gambling his life and almost seems to think that he has control over whether the gun shoots or not. When Michael finds him, he sees to have completely lost his entire sense of reality and doesn’t even recognize his friend. Michael takes things to another level when he agrees to play “Russian roulette” against Nick. In this scene, Nick shows absolutely no emotion and has a blank facial expression. I found this really interesting that Nick had lost himself so much that he was unable to feel any emotion. Nick loses himself so completely that he ends up successfully killing himself in his game of chance.

Throughout the movie, we see a large amount cognitive dissonance. The characters know that killing is bad but kill people anyway because that is what is expected of them in wartime. The way they cope with this is to justify the behavior with war explanations. Because so much effort is provided to the task of being a soldier the attractiveness then should increase as well based on the readings in the book. This does seem to be the case but in reverse. As the characters feel that their task is less important their effort decreases. Cognitive dissonance is seen again later after Michael is at home and he tells his friends that it doesn’t hurt to be shot. Clearly, it hurts to be shot but saying it doesn’t is a way to cope with how he feels about it. By saying that it doesn’t hurt, it helps him believe that it’s not that big of a deal. Michael even states that he is feeling a lot of dissonance about his “relationship” with Linda. I think he is referring to his desire to want to be with her, but knowing that she is/was with his best friend, and secondly he feels dissonance about staying with her or going to find Steve. Constantly, Michael is faced with two opposing beliefs and behaviors that he seems to always be struggling with.
Michael seems to also lose his sense of identity; this is seen in Michael’s inability to relate to society. The scene that shows this is when he arrives home and all of his friends are having a party for him and he completely avoids it. However, after this he is able to act appropriately in society. Even when he may not be completely happy, he is able to make the appropriate facial expressions to fit in. Another example of this is even when he goes into the grocery store with Linda- he tells her he doesn’t want to go in but does it anyway and smiles and is polite.

Michael’s personality change is seen when we see him after the war going deer hunting and he misses the deer completely on purpose. His ability to kill has changed and his beliefs have been altered. After this scene is when we really start to see Michael’s change in personality. Here, Michael is also unable to have positive relations with others, including some of the people he had been best friends with before the war. We see him play the Russian roulette game that he had dealt with in the war with his friends. Typically research suggests that personality is stable over time, but occurrences like war and this type of experience have such a drastic effect that personality can be completely altered as demonstrated by the characters.

Steve struggles emotionally to cope with what is going on around him and his complete lack of control over the situation. We see this in the scene in the “prison” where he continues to cry and is unable to “play the game” of shooting himself with a loaded gun with one bullet in it. He is emotionally drained, and then become hurt physically. His needs are both psychologically and physiologically. He continually expresses extreme levels of emotional fear. His facial expressions and actions show this to the viewer. He makes an appraisal of the situation as threatening, therefore feels the emotion of fear, and acts in a way to get away from the situation until he appears to give up. Towards the end of the movie we see Steve is in what appears to be a veteran’s hospital. Steve’s self-concept is greatly changed, because of his experiences in Vietnam. Therefore, these experiences lead to a poorer self-schema. Steve struggles from his intense fear and feels so much guilt from his war experience that he becomes out of touch with reality. I think that Steve is no longer able to feel self-acceptance because of what happens to him. I think that this is depicted when Steve tells Michael that he doesn’t want to go home; I think that by saying this it suggests that he is too ashamed of himself to go home to his wife.

ME Terms: Identity, cognitive dissonance, relating to society, environmental mastery, coping, opposing beliefs, desire, goals, happiness, arousal, control, facial expressions, personality, justification, attractiveness of a task, effort, positive relations with others, self-acceptance, self-concept, self-schema, psychological, physiological, fear, perceived control, self-perception theory, expressions, actions/behavior, ideal state, present state, perception, significant life-event, self-striving, desire for control, and losing control.

The movie Deer Hunter is a very intense movie that was difficult to watch at some points in time. The characters of Michael and Nick and the difficulties they went through during the movie were the most interesting. The character Michael, who is played by Robert De Niro, begins the movie as the more serious of the two characters. He appears to be the leader of their group of friends and he would most likely describe his self-concept as being strong and independent. Nick on the other would most likely describe self-concept as the quiet, nice guy of the group. Self-concept is defined as an individuals’ mental representation of themselves. Nick seems to be a happier person overall as well because he is operating on a high level of extraversion. Extraversion is defined as the personality trait that directs individuals to be more sociable, assertive, and exciting. Michael is also an avid hunter who follows his theory of “one shot”. A self-schema about Michael would be that he is skillful hunter who believes that if you can’t kill the prey in one shot then you don’t deserve the kill. Nick enjoys hunting as well but instead of being in it for the glory of the kill he appears to enjoy being in the wilderness more. Nick’s self-schema could therefore be described as an outdoorsman. Self-schema is defined as a cognitive representation about the self that are domain specific and learned from past experiences. Michael’s self-schema motivates him to take a lot of pride and care in attempting to kill the deer with one shot in the first part of the movie. On the other hand, Nick’s motivation would be to be in the wilderness and less about the thrill of the kill. The first scene where I saw a fault in Michael was when it was obvious that he had feelings for Nick’s future fiancée, Linda. Michael’s desire to take Nicks place as Linda’s lover would be considered a possible self that he could fulfill if something were to happen to Nick. A possible self if defined as when the current self sees a desired future self or role and makes an inference that he or she could become that desired self. This usually causes motivation for that individual to attempt to fulfill this role but Michael never makes an attempt to replace Nick in his role, at least before Vietnam. Nick appears to be very happy with his consistent self in his role as Linda’s lover. Consistent self is defined as an established well-articulated self-schema in a particular domain that an individual generally acts to protect. Nick’s attempt to protect his consistent self is asking Linda to marry him before they ship out. Both Nick and Michael’s comfort level identity’s change drastically after they ship out to Vietnam.
During the first few minutes of the second act of the movie you see Nick, Michael, and their other friend Steven become captured by the North Vietnamese. This is where the movie becomes extremely intense and difficult to watch. The three watch in horror as fellow captives are forced to play Russian roulette as their captors gamble on the outcome. The emotions that the three go through during this part of the movie are fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and joy. Emotion is defined as what choreographs the feeling, arousal, purposive, and expressive components into a coherent reaction to an eliciting event. The three friends go through fear when they see that others who are in captivity with them are being forced to play Russian roulette and when they get forced to play for their lives. Fear is defined as an emotional reaction that arises from a person’s interpretation that the situation he or she faces is dangerous and a threat to one’s well-being. The next emotion, anger, is experienced by the three when they are drug out of their cell and forced to play. It is also experienced by Michael and Nick when they watch Steve being thrown into the water cage after failing to kill himself at roulette. Anger is defined as the belief that the situation is not what is should be such as that the restraint, interference, or criticism is illegitimate. The three experience disgust in this scene because of the rats, blood, and dead captives that are around the scene. Disgust is defined as getting rid of or getting away from a contaminated, deteriorated, or spoiled object that depends heavily on the individual’s development and culture. Sadness is also experienced by the three individuals when they think that one or all of them are going to die in the sick game being forced upon them. Sadness is defined as the most negative, aversive emotion that arises from experiences of separation or failure. The last emotion experienced in the scene is joy when Michael and Nick kill their captors and rescue Steven from his cage. Joy is defined as the emotion felt when and event brings a desirable outcome. The joy that the three friends feel is short lived however, when an American chopper picks up Nick and loses Michael and Steven into the river. The scene shortly after this one shows Nick at a military hospital distraught and believing that his two friends are dead. Nick’s appraisal of the event of Michael and Steven falling from the chopper was perceived as negative and deadly. Appraisal is defined as an estimate of the personal significance of an event. The event causes Nick to stumble down an alley one night to find a building where they are playing Russian roulette for money. Nick loses it after seeing the game being played by two Vietnamese individuals and after a series of events falls in with them to become a drug-addicted participant himself. The appraisal that Nick went through caused him to withdraw and avoid facing the friends and family awaiting him at home. It turned out however that Michael and Steven survived the fall and made it back to friendly lines alive. Steven is sent home and his legs are amputated because they were broke after falling from the chopper. It also appears that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his traumatic experience. When Michael discovers that Steven is back and that he is living in a veterans hospital he goes to bring him home. Steven says he is happy at the hospital and doesn’t want to go home because it isn’t the same. I think that Michael and Steven both understand that their identity has changed compared to how it was before with their friends. Identity is defined as the means by which the self relates to society. Michael and Steven can relate to each other because of the experience they went through but they have a hard time being around their old friends and family who don’t know what they have been through. Through Michael and Steven’s conversation they figure out that Nick is still alive and sending money to the hospital for Steven. The realization that Nick is still alive arouses Michael to travel back to Vietnam and bring him home like he promised earlier in the movie. The fact that Nick is alive may even have over stimulated Michael because he eventually ended up playing Russian roulette against him. Some could argue that the only way he could talk to Nick was by putting a large bet up to play him but I think there could have been another way. Nick doesn’t recognize Michael or even have any clue that he is alive. Part of the reason could be because of the evidence of massive drug use in an attempt to forget or withdraw from the pain of losing his closest friends. Right before he dies Nick realizes that Michael is alive and playing against him but pulls the trigger on the gun for the last time. One thing that could have caused Nick to lose his mind and turn to drugs is that he couldn’t control his environment anymore. If an individual loses control of their environment it can cause distress, anxiety, depression, dominance, and assertive coping. After experiencing any of these side effects Nick could have turned to drugs and began the downward spiral that eventually caused his death. After Nick dies, Michael takes his body home like he promised and gives him a proper burial. I can only imagine the difficulties Michael is going to go through after watching his best friend killing himself and having to bring the news home.

M&E Terms - self-concept, extraversion, trait, self-schema, possible self, role, consistent self, identity, emotion, fear, anger, disgust, sadness, joy, Appraisal, happy, arouse, control, environment

I really did not like the movie Deer Hunter. It was an extremely long and boring story which was hard to understand at times because the scenes jumped around so quickly. A whole hour was dedicated to the 6 male characters, Mike, Nick, Steven, Stan, Axel, and John (whom are friends) drinking before and during Steven’s wedding.
However, I chose to focus on Nick and his response to what happened at Vietnam. Nick was an easy-going character, who was an avid hunter, and felt the war would help him use those skills. He was also not enlisting alone and planned on fighting alongside his two long-time friends Mike and Steven.
Nick’s problems began at approximately 1:12:30 (1 hour, 12 minutes, 30 seconds) in the movie when all 3 friends became prisoners of war (POW). The enemies forced all POWs to play Russian roulette until basically they were all killed except the 3 friends. Nick watched many soldiers die from gunshot wounds to the head and watched as his friend Steven grazed his head with a bullet, and then get thrown into a water cage to die. All 3 eventually escaped but it was a significant life event which would continue to haunt Nick. After the 3 friends escaped, an American helicopter found them and attempted a rescue, but was only successful in rescuing Nick. His 2 friends were left behind. His primary appraisal to this significant event led Nick to experience sadness, primarily due to failure to stay together with his friends. He was separated from his friends in the war and did not know if they were alive or dead. As he sat alone in the Saigon hospital all he saw around him were badly injured soldiers or dead bodies. His secondary appraisal reflected on the irrevocable loss and the total loss of control. Unfortunately, his coping functions did not respond appropriately to this sadness, which led him into a downward spiral of hopelessness, and led to withdrawal. He did not call nor write to his girlfriend or friends back home after the incident and eventually went AWOL (absent without official leave) from the military. He withdrew from the world.

The continued pictures in his mind about death and the loss of his friends took control of his brain. This excessive stimulation and arousal impaired his cognitive abilities enough to never return to the military to try and get back home and find his friends. He also shows cognitive deficits when eventually, at approximately 2:34, his friend Mike learns that he went AWOL and returns to Saigon to find him. When Mike finds him, Nick does not recognize nor remember his longtime friend. He displayed emotional disruption with agitation and irritability. The physiological deficit was also obvious by how horrible he looked during this time. Nick looked like he was in a state of shock, hadn’t slept for months, nor eaten anything for long periods of time. Mike tried to break through to Nick by playing Russian roulette again with him. While in that position he tried to remind Nick of the good times before the war and the mountains he loved so much. Unfortunately, I think that created more despair for him, knowing that he would never go back home and be the same man he was before, and he willed the gun to go off. Nick was in despair and desperately wanted to go back to the places he loved so much and be able to experience them as he did before.

ME terms used: sadness, primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, loss of control, coping, hopelessness, arousal, excessive stimulation, cognitive deficits, emotional deficits, physiological deficits, despair.

Deer Hunter is a type of movie that starts off with happiness and ends with sadness. At the beginning of the movie there is a wedding, the celebrating of two people that have fallin in love. It is also a celebrating of the three men who were going to fight in the Vietnam War, Nick, Michael, and Steven.
At war, the three men meet up and are taken as prisoners. They are picked out and forced to play a game involving guns. Steven is scared, terrified. The fear is too much, but with the help of Michael he gets through it.
At this point you can see the roles that each man has taken. Michael is seen as the strong one and a leader. Steven is the opposite; he is the weakest one that just wants to go home. Nick is somewhere in the middle. Due to the braveness of both Nick and Michael, they come up with a plan to get out. Long story short their plan works, they get Steven and float down the river.
The guys are in luck, and a helicopter comes around and picks them up. Just that Nick is the only one to get back to base; the other two are injured and have to walk to civilization. By now the three are all spilt up. Michael is the first to go home. A welcome home party is waiting for him, and would continue to wait for him. He goes to a hotel, once inside he breaks down and cries, showing his sadness. Somehow he had to cope with the new/old environment.
When Michael does return to his home joy greets him. His friends are all happy to see him. They try and get back to old times, going to the bar, hunting again. Michael finds out the Steven is home and goes to visit him. He has lost both his legs and cannot move his left arm. He seems happy, but deep down he looks sad. His wife keeps sending him socks, which I believe furthers his hidden depression.
Now two of the three are back home. Michael decides its time to find Nick and bring him back. When he does find Nick he acts as if he didn’t know how Michael was. They played the game that they first seen when they were imprisoned. Michael goes through a few emotions at this point. He is happy have found Nick but also unhappy about the situation. He is angry that Nick will not listen to him, and he is afraid. In the end, Nick kills himself and is taken back. The movie ends with the sadness of the loss of a friend.
The gun game I seen as a big risk taker. The first time they had to play it, it was more of life or death. You played and won the round you advance to the next level. I think the bad guys wanted them to all take their own life but thanks to the two they got out. It when Michael came to get Nick that the risk factor was there. All the guys that played that game were staring death in the eyes and yet they played with much hesitation.
It’s around this time that Nick seems dead. He has senses of hopelessness and neurotic. He really didn’t seem to have any emotions at all, he just gave up. Each time he pulled the trigger it was nothing, don’t until the last time. The minutes before his life ended I’m sure he knew what was coming. It was a sad ending to a movie.
Overall the movie wasn’t that bad. It was longer than I thought it would be and I didn’t like the first round of the gun game. I really didn’t think I was going to like it, and I moments I didn’t. I’m not big into war movies but I do like Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. If I had to rate it I would give it a 7 out of 10.
Terms: Happiness, sadness, fear, role, joy, angry, risk taker, hopelessness, neurotic

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The Deerhunter is a powerful movie that follows a group of friends through a life changing event: The Vietnam War. Nick, Michael and Steven. Right from the start of the movie, we see how close and comfortable they all are with Clairton, PA, the town they live in. After the three enroll in the military to fight in the war however, we see a dynamic change in their identities.
It seems fairly clear that the group of friends has a high sensation seeking personality. The crew works at the local steel mill, performing intense labor around scorching flames all day. At the start of the movie, the boys are cruising along a narrow road trying to squeeze through a semi. To most people, such arousal would be overwhelming. To Nick, Michael and Steven however, it is their idea of a good time. The first third of the movie takes place at Steven's wedding. Much of this scene was unorganized and jumped around from character to character. After observing them throughout the first part of the movie, we can tell that most of them are extraverts, in that they tend to be particularly sensitive to the positive vibes of their environment. Stan however, seems to be more of a nuerotic. One particular scene stood out to me at the wedding. After letting one the the guests dance with the bride, Stan notices the man is getting a little too comfortable with her. Despite the fact that there are countless other positive things going on around him, he can't seem to let go of this situation and starts a small brawl with the guest. On multiple other occasions, such as their hunting trips, Stan always seems to be the one to find 'drama' with a situation. Extraverts tend to be generally happy most of the time. They act on their environment with their behavioral activating system. From the looks of their drinking excursions prior to the war, one would assume they are indeed living a happy life.
This positive emotion changes in almost an instant however, when the three arrive in Vietnam. Somehow, the three men find themselves in the same squad in a tough situation. After a wave of Vietkong storm the village they are in, Nick, Steven and Michael are taken prisoner. From this point on, we see the dynamics of one's emotions. While taken prisoner, the three find themselves part of a Russian roulette gambling game in which one bullet is put into a gun and two people pass the gun back and forth, shooting themselves in the head until the bullet is released. It is here that all control is stripped from the soldiers. They either partake in the almost sure death, or are killed anyways by enemy soldiers. This is a situation of excessive stimulation. The three feel overaroused. This can cause emotional, cognitive, and physiological disruption. One can assume that they had almost no perceived control over the situation. In a situation when one feels they have absolutely no control, one can feel particularly emotional. We see Steven having a nervous breakdown before his turn to play. His powerful facial expressions represent the social-expressive part of his fearful emotion. His loss of body control represent the physiological damage caused by overarousal. The three portray high levels of anxiety, as they are unsure what lies ahead. Michael on the other hand, shows feelings of anger. This paired with his risk taking behavior drives him to form a plan to strike back and escape.
The film jumps to a scene of Nick at the military hospital. He can barely speak a word. From this point forward we do not see the happy, extraverted Nick. Perhaps the experience of being overly aroused while a being a prisoner permanently changed him to seek out more intense stimulation. The environment at the hospital probably made him feel underaroused. Nick is released from the military but instead of returning home, he opts to participate in underground Russian Roulette gambling; demonstrating a motivation to elevate his level of arousal. This follows him up until his unfortunate death in a duel with Michael.
Michael too, has problems with the insufficient levels of arousal when he arrives back in the United States. Suddenly, his identity of being the blue collar worker from Clairton has diminished. He has a very hard time relating to those around him who were once so close. Nick's fiance, Linda, is still awaiting his return but turns to Michael for emotional support. Michael seemed to have a hard time assuming this role, but eventually assumes his role as the natural leader of the surviving Clairton crew.
The Deer Hunter provides a real world example of the effects of dynamic arousal levels, as well as the loss of perceived control in soldiers. War has negative impacts on many people. This film examined the effects of war on one group of people. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I found it to be a little slow at times but I believe it was necessary for adequate character development. With my education from our class, I was able to understand these characters' personality before and after a detrimental environment such as Vietnam. I particularly enjoyed the denouement of the film. We see the friends using a medium [singing God Bless America] to display their sad emotions. Ironically, this song was also sung at their send-off, displaying their prideful and optimistic emotions.

Terms: identity, sensation seeking behavior, extraversion, neuroticism, behavioral activating system, emotion, control, perceived control, social-expressive, fear, anger, arousal, overarousal, underaroused, anxiety

Deer Hunter assignment
As this movie begins it’s easy to identify sensation seeking behaviors in Mike as the leader in this group of men who work and interact socially together. As Mike drives the guys to the local bar after work he takes a huge physical risk by passing a semi in the narrow drive of the steel mill but he doesn’t just pass the semi, he whips a donut right in front of the oncoming semi as he parks in front of the bar. The scene in the bar reveals that Steve is a follower and willing to do what the guys are doing just to fit in because this particular day is his wedding day and he starts it by drinking with the guys and Stan takes away a beer stating that Steve doesn’t need to be too relaxed.
It becomes known that Mike, Nicki and Steve have enlisted in the army and are going to Vietnam soon. After the wedding reception Mike’s sensation seeking is revealed by risking his dignity, stripping off his clothes and streaking down the street alongside the bride and groom driving away. After Mike is exhausted Nicki sits down beside Mike and tells him that whatever happens, Mike is not to leave him in Vietnam.
The next time we see Mike, Nicki, and Steve together is in a rural area in Vietnam where the horrors of war dull Mike’s response to seeing his friends after a period of time. This may be due to the over arousal, heightened alert and stress of the situation, but Mike’s behavior is consistent with an extrovert, his BAS is goal directed. In this scene I can identify an aspect of an extrovert that is Eudaimonic in nature because Mike’s meaningful pursuits may be motivated out of a mindset that his job as a soldier is worth doing and is very important.
The conditions of any war are so overwhelming that I cannot imagine any soldier on the front lines not struggling with PTSD based on the excessive stimulation and aversive conditions of war let alone being a prisoner of war.
It was hard to watch the scene that displayed the torture and psychological torment of being forced to play twisted self induced game of Russian roulette but, it was clear to me by this point that Steve is definitely an introvert and highly neurotic; he would have never made it without Mike talking him down, assuring him and at times commanding him toward certain behaviors. The excessively over stimulating situation took a heavy toll on all three of these men and Mikes Eudaimonic leadership was a marvelous testimony of decorated soldiers. Mike’s perception of competence, mastery, and his ability to control (suppress) cortisol, allowed his perceived control to serve as a gain that further served as an antidote to this excessive stress (cortisol) of war.
Upon Mikes decorated return, he chose to avoid the fan fair and make a quiet return. This supports the fact that his over arousal (PTSD) needed to be decreased; he needed time to regroup/adjust to life at home and his role here. Mike no longer sought out sensational activities or behavior. He may have been depressed; he was conflicted about how to deal with Linda, and he definitely was affected by the stress and strain of war. Mike was confused cognitively, he could not hunt, and he just needed some time to deal with adapting to life and the affects of war but particularly Steve and Nicki.
Once Mike’s affect intensity returned to a more stable state, he sought to connect with Steve in the VA hospital. It was here that Mike learned that Nicki was still alive and in Vietnam. This initiated his perceived control and his BAS became evident in his behavior to return to Vietnam and find Nicki. This level of engagement is high, intense and another self-confirming cycle for Mike that he is once again focused, assertive and dedicated to totally participate in the process of finding Nicki no matter the cost. He is undertaking as much control as he possibly can to control the outcome because of the vow and a friendship with Nicki; no matter what happens, don’t leave me there.
Tragically, Nicki’s disaffection and low perceived control left him in a mental state that seemed totally disengaged, he could not remember Mike nor connect with reality. Nicki seemed to just go through the motions of participating in the sick twisted game of self inflicted Russian roulette. It seems evident to me that Nicki’s low perceived control was evident early in the movie because he was the one who stated something like “whatever is suppose to happen will happen” (I think). Nicki’s behavior at the end of the movie seems to be a learned helplessness that is a result of an environment that refuses to afford Nicki with the desired control in choices available or of which he was lacking. In essence Nicki had lost control, given up and died that way.

Terms: Introverts, BIS, extroverts, BAS, happiness, Eudaimonic well-being, neuroticism, arousal stimulation, over arousal, stress, sensation seeking, affect intensity, perceived control, desired control, self-confirming cycles of engagement, losing control

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The first section of the movie is dedicated to illustrating the hometown life of the characters. The second section of the movie depicts a war-torn nation of Vietnam and how the three main characters struggle to survive in that environment. The last section of the movie is about how the characters deal with their psychological, physical, emotional issues after returning from war.
The community in which the three main characters, Michael, Nick, and Steven live is a very tightly-knit community where everyone knows each other and are friends. Major events that occur in the first section include a wedding and a send-off for Michael, Nick, and Steven as they get ready to go to Vietnam. Both of these events illustrate the concept of happiness. The text does not have a precise definition of happiness, but it does state that the majority of people are happy. Happiness can be described in terms of different levels of happiness. One level of happiness is extraversion. Extraversion is the personality characteristic that answers the questions “who is happy”. The personality characteristic that answers the question “who is unhappy” is neuroticism. One character that is more of an extravert compared to the other characters is Michael. Extraverts have, greater sociability, greater social dominance, and greater venturesomeness than introverts. Michael definitely is very social with other people in a variety of situations. Michael’s character is also the natural leader of his group of friends. Michael also is very venturesome because he loves the outdoors, loves to hunt, and seemed okay with going over to Vietnam (in the begiing of course).
Michael’s love for hunting also illustrates the concept of sensation seeking. Sensation seeking is the personality characteristic related to arousal and reactivity. Sensation seekers search for new experiences (e.g. Michael and hunting, going to war) and engage in risk taking behaviors (e.g., Michael wanting 3 bullets in the gun during Russian Roulette instead of 1 so he could kill the guards).
Another concept from the text that relates to the movie is arousal, specifically overarousal and excessive stimulation. This can occur during times of great stress, such as the time the three main characters spent in the enemy war camp where they were forced to be in the water with rats and dead bodies and also forced to play Russian Roulette with each other because the guards were that demented. The text states that overstimulating, stressful environments upset emotional states, impair cognitive activity, and accelerate physiological processes. One example that illustrates this is when each main character had to play Russian Roulette, even against each other. The stress and anxiety produced after having to put a gun to their head was enough for the character’s to have an increased heart rate, impaired cognitive abilities, etc.
Another concept related to arousal that can be related to the movie is affect intensity. Affect intensity describes peolple’s capacity to become aroused emotionally. It is defined in terms of how strong individual’s experience their emotions. People can either be affect-intense or affect-stable. I would have to say that Steven is definitely a affect-intense person compared to Michael who is more of a affect-stable individual.
Terms Used: happiness; extraversion; introvert; neuroticism; sociability; social dominance; venturesomeness; risk taking; sensation seeking; arousal; personality characteristics; overarousal/excessive stimulation; affect intensity; affect-intense; affect-stable

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Deer Hunter was a very long movie but it does provide a very different perspective at taking a closer look at motivation and emotion when an individual goes through a very extreme situation, war, and how this extreme situations effect self-concept/emotion to differing personality characteristics. I felt that Mike was a very interesting character and thus I will be spending the majority of the time talking about him. In the beginning you get the vibe that he is a role model for the other boys, Nick and Steve. This is a good example of selective interaction because I felt that Mike has a strong self-concept an independent and strong individual. The relationship with the two other boys further confirms this self-concept. This validation from Mike’s best friends creates a certainty of high self-concept. Taking a look at identity of Mike in the beginning he is very content and happy with his role as being the best friend. Also in the beginning Mike seems to be very independent in comparison with Nick and Steve. With relevance to agency Nick and Steve are still dependent upon others. This is demonstrated especially when Nick makes Mike promise to not leave him over in Vietnam. These three boys display a very positive sense of emotion and this is feedback from their current situations. Everything is going well in their lives.
Taking a closer look at their personality characteristics they vary quite significantly even though they are very close. I do think that Mike displays more characteristics of an introvert versus an extrovert. Both Steve and Nick seem to be more easy going, more social, and overall happier as in being able to enjoy the moment more so than Mike. This is an example of extraverts being more sensitive to positive emotion and having a stronger BAS. Although I don’t think that Mike is an extravert I do not believe that he is high in neuroticism. However Steve does seem to show some tendencies of being strongly neurotic. Steve seems constantly worried and focused in on the negative aspect of situations even before they leave for war. One great example of affect intensity is looking at Mike throughout the movie. I would say that he is shows signs of being strongly affect-stable. When Mike experiences emotions you mostly have to read very closely to his nonverbal communication. Even when trying to read Mike’s emotions from his facial expression it is still extremely difficult. Looking at control with Mike is easier to make an observation. Mike has a high perceived control and high desired control. He constantly displays dominance over his friends and clearly has a strong influence over them.
During the war Mike’s personality characteristics stick out even more because of the extreme circumstance. This is an example of how emotions change with big life event and they allow us to adapt. We continue to see Mike’s perceived control especially in the first game of Russian Roulette. While Steve is hypervenalating, Mike is there trying to calm him down. This is a good example of someone who is severely overaroused. This overarousement causes Steve to not think clearly, extremely anxious, and experiencing hyperactivity. In Mike’s mind they are going to escape through his control. Clearly at this time Steve does not have a strong sense of perceived control because it is driving him insane. Mike has such a strong sense of perceived control he convinces Nick to play the game with three bullets and eventually escape. Eventually Steve loses both legs and Nick fakes being crazy. Mike seems to be the only one who made it out of the war sane and emotionally ok although they experienced the same circumstances. This demonstrates that diverse personality characteristics and the way our brain interprets/deals with such circumstances can make a big difference. The difference in this circumstance was between living and dying, and going insane.
When returning home, Mike does not want to go to his welcome home party. He has gone through a lot and at that time he was not emotionally ready to face all those people. Mike needed time to grieve for his two best friends. I think this was a devastating time for Mike because this was the first time he had to realize that he did not have the amount of perceived control he thought he had. He eventually leaves his hotel to see Linda. While the whole town is excited to see him back Mike still needs time to adjust to losing his best friends and everything that his happened. Mike has a new role as a war hero that he needs to adjust to. This new identity takes a lot out of Mike considering his friends are still not home. In fact Mike experiences a cognitive dissonance because he was their protector yet he did not bring Nick and Steve back together. This cognitive dissonance forces Mike to go back to Vietnam to bring Nick home and fulfill the promise to not leave Nick behind. Even though Nick kills himself Mike is able to reduce the dissonance by trying. Mike also brings Steve home. The very last scene you can see by mostly their facial expressions that they are happy again even after everything that has happened. And everything is by far an understatement. This is a great example that even through devastating life events individuals do return back to their original set point of happiness.

Terms; selective interaction, self-concept, identity, agency, positive emotion, introvert, extrovert, BAS, neurotic, affect intensity, affect-stable, nonverbal communication, perceived control, desired control, overarousement, cognitive dissonance

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The Hours is an emotion packed film about three women that are living in separate decades but whose lives are interwoven by coincidences that reflect upon the novel Mrs. Dalloway written by Virginia Wolf. Virginia Wolf is the first character shown in the film. She lives in Sussex, England: a small town outside of London during the 1940’s. She struggles greatly with depression and suicide attempts. Her only emotional outlet seems to be the book she is writing (Mrs. Dalloway), which is being read by Laura Brown. Mrs. Brown is a pregnant stay-at-home mom living in Los Angeles, California in 1951. On the outside it appears that the Brown family is living the “American Dream”. The reality is, however, that Mrs. Brown is not happy. She contemplates committing suicide herself but ends up deciding to put off major decisions until her baby is born.

Clarissa Vaughan is living in New York City in 2001. Her life seems to eerily reflect a modern version of what is going on in Mrs. Dalloway as Virginia Wolf is writing it and as Laura Brown is reading it. She is shown spending much of her time taking care of her friend Richard (who has become very ill due to AIDS) until he commits suicide and it is then discovered that Mrs. Brown was Richard’s mother. There are many aspects of motivation and emotion in this film. I will focus on the examples of motivation and emotion I noticed in The Hours that go along with Chapters 11, 12, and 13.

In Chapter 11, we learned about the difference between emotions and moods. Our textbook differentiates the two by explaining that an emotion is a temporary response to a certain event that motivates specific adaptive behaviors. It describes moods as longer-term ways of feeling that exist as positive or negative affect states. Virginia, Laura, and Richard were all examples of individuals with a negative affect state. They seemed to have an everyday general state of feeling depressed. They experienced extreme emotion when they each felt a strong sense of despair and wanted to commit suicide.

Chapter 12 discussed managing emotions. Laura Brown was excellent at concealing her emotions from her husband. She appeared to believe that keeping composure was desirable and what was expected of her as a suburban housewife and mother. Even when Mrs. Brown was having a breakdown in her bathroom when her husband was calling her to bed, she kept a steady voice to carry on a conversation with her husband without giving away the fact that she was crying at that moment.

Many personality characteristics described in Chapter 13 can be seen in The Hours. A main theme of the film is neuroticism and suffering. Our textbook defines neuroticism as, “a predisposition to experience negative affect and to feel chronically dissatisfied and unhappy”. This was certainly the case with Virginia, Laura, and Richard. Virginia Wolf’s life in Sussex reminded me of the section in Chapter 13 called Insufficient Stimulation and Underarousal. The section described a study where participants became increasingly irritable the longer they stayed in a sensory-deprived environment. Virginia Wolf longed to move back to London because she could no longer stand the stillness of her new life in Sussex. She had a strong desire for control of her life because at that point, decisions were made for her by her husband and doctors. This lack of say in her own life increased her feelings of depression. Thankfully, by the end of the film Virginia was able to convince her husband to move back into the city.

Terms: depression, emotion, mood, negative affect, managing emotions, neuroticism, suffering, insufficient stimulation, underarousal, control

There were a lot of chapters that went along with the viewing of The Deer Hunter, including chapters 10-13. The bulk of these chapters deal with the concept of the self and personality characteristics that deal with emotion. These are concepts that are viewed many times in the movie The Deer Hunter, which tells the story of a group of friends that leave a little steel mining town to fight in Vietnam and return in various forms of emotional distress. While most scenes in the movie display multiple concepts, from the four chapters from the motivation and emotion text book, I will attempt to describe relevant scenes in the order of the book chapters.

Chapter 10 describes the various aspects of the self and its strivings which are witnessed in a few scenes within the movie. The idea of a self-concept and self-schemas can be witnessed throughout the duration of the film. The self-concept is an individuals’ mental representation of themselves and a collection of domain-specific self-schemas, so I will discuss schemas first. We see the three main characters (Mike, Nick, Steve) transition through three very specific and identifiable self-schemas. These self-schemas include there views of the self before, during and after the war. Steve changes his self-schemas the most. Before the war he has just gotten married and has his family to think about, during the war he seems to lose all sense of his identity in the prison camp and can hardly function, after the war he is confined to a wheelchair and he slowly but surely returns to a normal self-schema. Nick starts out as a very nice guy who seems to be Mike’s best friend before the war. During the war Nick’s charm and easy going attitude are being challenged in the prison camp. After the war Nick’s self-schema has completely changed and he seems to have lost any self-concept that resembled what it used to me. Mike, on the other hand, has a very consistent self-schema/concept throughout the movie and only waivers a little bit. One of the best examples of cognitive dissonance, playing Russian roulette, is also a very important plot element in this film. The Vietnamese soldiers’ torture their prisoners by making them perform an act that is incredibly illogical to how someone would normally act (i.e. pulling the trigger of a gun pointed to your head). The dissonance is manifested in the way that each character feels or believes in this act. Mike somehow resolves this issue without much of a negative reaction, but Nick and Steve end up being permanently effected by this act that is clearly difficult to comprehend or perform because the death is almost imminent. Mike is a great example of identity because his identity as the leader of this group is very obvious. During the whole movie people are relying on Mike, whether it’s hunting, surviving the prison camp, or brining everyone back together after the war. Mike is clearly viewed as a leader by his friends and he performs identity-confirming behaviors that allow us to realize he is a strong leader.

Chapter 11 deals with the nature of emotion and there are many emotions that are displayed throughout this movie. The displays of emotion are pretty obvious during the movie so I will not spend a lot of time describing each one. Fear is shown most clearly by Steve during the prison camp scene where he reverts back to an almost childlike state. This causes Mike to constantly talk to him and try to get him to calm down. There is also a quick glimpse of a Vietnamese woman who looks very frightened before she is shot. This confirms the idea that facial expressions of emotion are similar across cultures. Mike displays the most anger during the movie at two separate points. First, during the prison camp scene he is clearly angry when their captors continually slap him in the face. The second time is when he and his friends are hunting after the war. Mike gets really mad at Stan for pointing his handgun at someone and even puts it against Stan’s head and pulls the trigger. There are many displays of sadness especially during the last third of the movie (e.g. Linda thinking about Nick and hoping he’s okay, and then his death and funeral). I thought that there was also quite a bit of sadness in the scene where one of the friends is playing the piano after they just got done hunting. They all know that the three of them are about to ship out to Vietnam and everyone is very quiet and I thought that it was sad for most of the characters. The scenes of joy or happiness are very few and far between. The two examples I saw were during the wedding where everyone was happy and then later when Linda sees Mike for the first time when he gets back.

The only themes that I noticed from chapter 12, aspects of emotion, was the concept of social and cultural aspects of emotion. The particular scene that I noticed was when the POWs are forced to play Russian roulette. While the prisoners are extremely fearful of dying the Vietnamese are happy and laughing and quite ecstatic. This clearly shows how an individual’s emotion can be determined by their position and role in a given situation. The social and cultural aspects may come into play but I think that it is more important as to which end of this game you’re being subjected to.

Personality characteristics, chapter 13, were very prominent throughout the film. The two factors that lead to the level of a persons’ happiness, extroversion and neuroticism, are displayed by Nick and Mike respectively. Nick seems to be the most extroverted person of the group and is very friendly and seems to be contempt and happy during the first portion of the movie. Mike, on the other hand, always seemed to be somewhat introverted before the war and more of a quiet guy. After the war he has clearly become more neurotic and doesn’t want to be around any of his old friends. You really get the sense of how uncomfortable he is when everyone is trying to talk to him and hug him. Sensation seeking as a factor that contributes to arousal is very prominent in this movie. The act of hunting itself in the beginning is a good example of sensation seeking but then more disturbing measures are taken to feel arousal. The practice of gambling on a game of Russian roulette is a very extreme and dark form of sensation seeking which ends up consuming Nick. It is interesting that Nick sends all of his money, from playing this game, to Steve and that he is addicted to heroin. I think don’t think that Nick himself is trying to feel arousal by playing Russian roulette and shooting heroin but instead trying to block out all sorts of feeling or emotion. The people that are sensation seeking are the ones betting on the game and not playing. The third personality characteristic, control, is harder to distinguish between perceived control and desire for control. I think that Mike has a very high desire for control because he is actively trying to coordinate their escape from the prison camp and he also perceives a level of control. Nick and Steve seem to believe that there is absolutely no chance for them to control their fate in the prison. This perception of control extends till after their escape for both Mike and Nick. Mike spends a bunch of money to try and get Nick back to the U.S. but Nick just blindly keeps playing roulette. I kept wondering throughout the whole movie whether the three main characters got drafted or if they volunteered. I think that knowing this piece of information would shed a lot of light on how they perceived their level of control. Unfortunately, it is never specifically stated as to how they ended up going to the war.

ME Term: control, desire for control, control, perceived, arousal, introverted, extroversion, neuroticism, sensation seeking, personality characteristics, social and cultural aspects of emotion, joy, sadness, anger, fear, emotion, cognitive dissonance, identity, self-schemas, self-concept

Deer Hunter is a very long brutal movie. It starts off by showing the guys in their small town lives when one of them is getting married. One of the bridesmaids is making food for her dad before the wedding and she looks really nervous, a subordinate of fear. When she brings the food upstairs for her dad he hits her and calls her names(I assume because he is a drunk.) In this situation she would have low perceived control. She feels that there is nothing she can do about the way her dad acts and most likely feels that she can not get out of the situation.
During the wedding almost everyone is displaying the basic emotion of joy, the opposite of sadness. Most people are happy in general, but people are even more happy at weddings and if they are not married hope that someday the bride/groom is them. Joy comes from situations that bring desirable outcomes. Joy has two functions. The first on facilitates our willingness to engage in social activities by smiling. At the wedding there were tons of smiles and joyful people. The we all dancing with each other, singing, and having conversations. Joy, secondly has a soothing function. It has a way of undoing the distressing effects of aversive emotions. The movie displays this when one of the men hit the bridesmaids he later apologized and gave her a kiss.
The guys also display sensation seeking to increase their level of arousal. A high sensation seeker prefers a continual external supply of brain stimulation, and is defined as the seeking of varied, novel, complex, and intense sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical, social, legal, and financial risks for the sake of experience. They showed this when one of the men went streaking after the wedding while the bride and groom followed in the care and the others ran and followed. Also when the went deer hunting. Every year gave them a new experience. They would play jokes, like pretending to leave their friend behind.
Next the movie shows the men in war. They are stuck under some hut with the guards who are playing Russian Roulette. Before they have their chance at luck they are stuck in the water with dead men, blood, and rats, waiting for their turn at "luck." The are worried for their lives and the lives of their friends. All of the men there are displaying a basic emotion of fear, which is an emotions reaction that arises from a persons interpretation that the situation they face is dangers and a treat to their well being. It acts as a coping function to the situation they are in to direct behavior in adaptive ways. While having fear the men have a high increasing rate of neural firing in a short amount of time. Neural firing, is a pattern of electrocortical activity in the brain. One way that I know the men are fearful is by the look in their faces. There are 36 muscles in you face that are involved in expressions. The upper face has 3 major muscles: the frontials, corrugator, and orbicularis oculi. The middle face has two major muscles: zygomaticus and nasalis. The lower faces also has three major muscles: depressor, orbicularis oris, and quadratus labii. When display fear in you face moves several of these muscles. the frontalis contracts and makes wrinkles in your forehead, the corrugator raises the inner corner of your eyebrows, the orbicularis oculi raises you upper eyelids and tenses your lower eyelids, and the quadratus labii pulls lips backwards. The other muscles are not essential to showing fear. The captive men alos had lost control when they were trapped. They really had not say in what happened to them or their friends. When people lose control they are move vulnerable to learned helplessness and depression. Fear is a defense motivation mechanism. It motivates the thought of either escape or withdrawal. In the movie it motivated escape between the two men. They took a risk tricked the guards into putting 3 bullets in the gun so they could use it to kill them all and get away. Then the rescued another guy and floated down the river on a log where the flagged down a helicopter.
When Miachel goes hunting after the war he experiences cognitive dissonance. Before the war he has made a self-schema for himself that he is a hunter. It motivated him to go deer hunting every year and that becomes part of his consistent self. When he gets back from the war and goes deer hunting like always he sees a huge buck but is not able to shoot it. With cognitive beliefs two beliefs are dissonant when the opposite of one belief follows the hunter. He thinks he is a hunter but is not able to shoot the deer and gains the dissonance arousing situation of new information. He yells after this in order to make himself realize that he is not longer able to deer hunt and get rid of the dissonance.

Terms: Risk taking, self schema, consistent self, cognitive dissonance, new information, fear, joy, coping function, neural activation, facial musculature, sensation seeking, risk taking, perceived control, losing control.

There are aspects of every chapter in this movie. Every character can be used but I think because there was so much content in the movie I’m just going to focus on Michael, Nick, and Steve. These men enlisted in the army and wanted to go fight in the Vietnam War. I think part of wanting to do something like this is striving to achieve a possible self. They have seen war vets as heroes or people to look up to and they believe that defending your country is highly honorable. They wanted to become these strong, honorable men who can say they fought for their country. I think this choice also has something to do with personality. Joining the army has to be at least somewhat sensation seeking. It is very a very risky, new, stimulating experience. A sensation seeker would say that the experience is worth the risk. The men may have felt this way but also may have felt a certain duty behind what they did also.

While the men were in Vietnam, I think they experienced cognitive dissonance. They were forced to do things that didn’t match their self-perceptions. They also experienced emotions that were inconsistent with their normal day to day emotions. I think the most dominant emotion seen in Vietnam was fear. All of the men were scared. Anger was also seen. Mike was mostly the one experiencing anger. This has to do with the men’s difference in appraisal. When they were forced to play Russian roulette, Mike and Nick played each other. Mike saw the situation as a positive because of the opportunity to escape. I think Mike was better at complex appraisal in the stressful, over arousing situations. These appraisals allowed Mike to see what he could do to attain his goals (like escaping) and motivated his actions.
Arousal seemed like it was a very important component for the men while in Vietnam. They were over aroused. They were always experiencing stimulation. This stimulation seemed to mostly come from the fear they had. It also came from the pain they were experiencing from injuries. This can make it hard to function. They wanted to stay alert and aware of what was going on but it was hard because of the over arousal. It seemed like Mike had lower affect intensity and Steve had very high affect intensity. Mike remained the calmest in stimulating situations. He was able to devise plans and take the lead. It seemed he was the lease emotionally aroused in stressful situations. It also seemed like Mike had a greater perceived control and desire for control which worked in his benefit. He was the only one who came back from the war relatively normal. He did whatever he could to control the situations he was in. He showed persistence and engagement. He believed in his abilities and that helped him succeed like when he thought of the plan to escape during Russian roulette. Steve on the other hand was an emotional mess and he seemed helpless. He had very, very little perceived control.

Although personality may be very hard to change or alter, it seemed like the war changed the men’s personalities. All of the men seemed pretty extraverted before they went to war but seemed to have changed after. Mike was really hesitant to be social again. He seemed uncomfortable in situations where he had to be around a lot of people or where people would be talking to him. He was still very assertive though. Steve was in a VA hospital and did not want to leave. He wasn’t very social, assertive or venturesome. He didn’t seem sad or neurotic. Nick was very different. He didn’t even go home. He had some memory loss and was not the same person at all. Before he went to Vietnam, he was less intense and he liked nature and he just lost the little things he appreciated before. When we saw him again when Mike when back to get him, he was cold, uncaring, and seemed like he was lacking emotion. He had stable affect intensity before the war but after he seemed to have very, very low affect intensity. I think this was a defense mechanism for him. It was his way of surviving even though he ended up killing himself in the end.

This movie was not easy to watch because of the content and graphics but it provided many examples of the things we have been reading about in class. I could probably give many more examples if I included all of the characters or analyzed every part of the movie. It was a good choice for an assignment.

The movie The Deer hunter follows a close group of friends through many life changing events. You can tell that this group of guys has a sense of relatedness with each other. They work together and play together, even sing songs hanging on each other’s shoulders. Right away you can tell that these men are risk takers. They all have the same dangerous occupation at a factory or mill dodging sparks and fires all day long. They egg each other on as they dangerously pass a semi on the inside and nearly crash the car. All of this is done without a hint of fear. The Deer Hunter is packed full of emotional scenes. During the first part of the movie, interest and joy shine through. In the beginning there is a group of guys living the easy life interested in girls, football, cars and hunting. Joy is evident during the wedding reception as everyone dances, smiles and shows affection for each other. After the wedding reception, the group of friends decides to go on one last hunting trip before they go off to the army. Each has their own personality and character that is well developed. Nick the seemingly romantic one speaks what is on his mind, on a whim proposes to Linda and wants to go hunting because he “likes the trees.” Mike is called a control freak and admits that “he just doesn’t like surprises.” Mike plays the role of the natural leader of the group. Stanley is the whiner always able to find confrontation. He seems to have an inflated self-esteem. When his favorable self-view is threatened, he is prone to aggression and acts of violence as our text book suggests (Reeve, 2009, p. 267). Steven is the emotional, compassionate one who professes his love of Angela and tries to convince his mother that getting married to her is the right choice. Everything seems to be going well, but movie is also realistic. Of course there are uneasy elements such as pre-marital pregnancy, abuse and the upcoming departure to Vietnam. The later parts of the movie are highly emotional also, but they are dominated by fear, anger, and sadness. There is a scene where Linda, a bridesmaid, is all dressed up and ready for the wedding. She tries to quickly feed her drunk of a father. He yells at her and smacks her around for a while. This scene may be an example of a changed self-schema. Linda knew that she had worth. She was well liked by her friends and was a fairly reasonable person. She probably felt tension because of the inconsistency between what she felt about herself and what her father was telling her by abusing her. She was motivated to get away from her father in order to reach a desired future self. Linda ran to Mike and Nicks place to stay while they were away at Vietnam. The men’s lives and selves were drastically changed by their horrible experiences in Vietnam. The opening scene to Vietnam showed how the war was extremely bloody and innocent people were often caught in the middle. Mike had become a brutal killer and barely cared. They lost their control as they were taken prisoner in an underwater cage made of wood and barbed wire. They awaited a gambling game of Russian Roulette where their choice was to aim a loaded gun at their head and fire it themselves, or get thrown into the pit and die anyway. You could see their emotions running high. The facial expressions and irregular breathing were signs that the body was trying to cope with the eminent threat. The three men eventually make it out of Vietnam, but they are severely damaged. The lack of control and constant high stress ruined their psychological stability. Mike doesn’t know how to act once he is home and even drives by the house when he sees people waiting. Nick could barely talk and never went home. Eventually he kills himself at a high stakes game of Russian Roulette. Stevey lost several limbs and had a hard time going home to his mental wife and child. Sadness is all around as they attend funerals and morn the hypothetical loss of the survivors. This movie was highly emotional and shows how war can strip a person’s identity and well-being.
Terms Used: relatedness, risk taker, fear, interest, joy, personality, control, role, self-esteem, self-view, fear, anger, sadness, self-schema, future self, emotions, facial expression, sadness, identity, well-being

So I started watching deer hunter at 7:00pm tonight. Didn’t realize it was this long. Not the most interesting movie ever, but it does contain many of the concepts covered in chapters 10-13.
Chapter 10 dealt largely with self-concepts. Each of the characters in the group of friends had their own self-concepts. They knew who they were, and what their abilities were. They also had self-schemas of themselves that led them to join the war effort. The three friends that did all thought that they were young, patriotic, invincible, and great fighters. Thus, they were motivated to join the war. Once there, cognitive dissonance raged through the three friends system. One became crippled which disagreed with his schema about being fit, healthy, and possibly even competent. Nick schema of invincibility was smashed at the POW camp, and it took the greatest toll on him. The war environment made it increasingly hard to stay true to your consistent self. The main character came out best both mentally and physically after the war. It is obvious that he adopted the new identity of a war vet because he wears his uniform everywhere during the last half of the film. The guy who become crippled will have the biggest trouble adapting to his new identity because it will change everything about his life.
Chapter 11 brought new concepts to the table. This film had every aspect of emotion in it. From joy and jealousy at the wedding to fear and hate during the war. These basic emotions can be seen when major life events are occurring in the movie. I believe that the movie works better under the cognitive as opposed to the biological perspective. This is because the cognitive perspective allows for more than 10 emotions and for different emotions during the same behavior.
Chapter 12 deals with the biological aspect of emotion, but it still relates to the movie. Facial feedback is one fine example of this. Every emotion played out of film could be seen in the actors face. The crippled guys and nicks behavior at the end of the film can be somewhat explained by appraisal. They both decided that the events that happened to them were significant, and they were worth having emotions about. Sadly, neither one fared better after this. Attributions may also offer a further explanation. They would want to explain how this happened to them. Nick could say he was lucky, or that he just borrowed time. Instead, he just decided that life was too stressful and not worth it.
Chapter 14 could also be seen in this movie. The groups of friends that did not go to war show that happiness is stable. They all were the same when the main guy came back. , I would have to say that more heavier members of the gang were more extraverted than the others. They cared, brought beer, always appeared happy, and tried to make the others happy. The skinny weird guy that always carried a small handgun was proboly the most introverted of the bunch. He seemed to care only about himself, and he was generally rude. The guy that shot himself at the end was neurotic. He could not handle negative emotions well, and they must have been idling in his head till he shot himself. Not having enough stuff to do in the environment may have led to the 1-shot gambling business. People got bored and invented a bloody sport to pass the time and make money. Sensation seeking individuals may have went to these gambling events to defeat boredom and stay happy.

Terms used: self-concept, cognitive dissonance. Self-schemas, consistent self, identity, emotion, basic emotions, cognitive perspective, facial feedback, appraisal, attribution, happiness, extraverted, introverted, neurotic, arousal, sensation seeking

The movie Deer Hunter is about three men who go to Vietnam together and fight in the Vietnam War. The beginning of the movie starts off with the wedding of one of the three characters, Steven. This part of the movie goes on for almost the first hour of the movie. It just shows the celebration and how close the three friends are. The rest of the movie focuses on the three friends going off to war together in Vietnam and they become prisoners of war. While they are prisoners they are forced to play Russian roulette and watch all their fellow soldiers shoot themselves. Steven shoots himself, but the bullet skims his head instead of killing him. After that happens he is put in a water cage to die. Nick and Michael end up killing all the Vietnamese men who took them prisoner and the three men escape. Eventually a helicopter comes to rescue them, but sadly only Nick gets rescued. Nick is taken to the hospital and after awhile there he is able to leave and go home.

There are many different emotions that are presented throughout this movie. Everyone is very happy during the wedding. Even though they all know that the three men are going to be leaving for war in only a couple of days everyone is experiencing happiness because of the wedding of Steven and Angela. When the three guys were in the war there were feelings of anger, sadness, and fear. When Steven, Michael, and Nick were prisoners of war and had to play Russian roulette they were motivated to try to escape so they could survive the war. Once Nick got rescued and his other two friends were left behind, Nick lost most of his motivation to do anything. He kind of lost touch with reality and starting doing self-destructive behaviors.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone. I didn’t like it at all and it was really long. The movie did have a lot of the concepts from the book, but it was just so boring.

Terms used: happiness, anger, fear, sadness, motivation, emotion

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