On the threshold of July 31 – the Birthday of the famous wizard Harry Potter and his creator Joan Rowling, scientists of South Ural State University found out how popular movies influence people. According to obtained results, knowing the character a person identifies oneself with, it is possible to predict one’s behavior in the future.
The researchers set the goal to find out, how educational factor is implemented in the popular novels of Joan Rowling, and whether movies about the wizard can have an impact on role behavior of a personality. The scientific experiment was carried out featuring 70 Russian fans of Harry Potter movies aged from 19 till 23. Experts picked 14 book characters. Identification with a character was considered to be made if a spectator had a compassion for this exact character while watching the movie.
“Popular movies attract spectators to their ‘playground’; they are potentially capable of changing mentality and behavior, and then ‘the play is played by the player’, as one of the researchers of game structures, philosopher Hans Gadamer, said,” explained Doctor of Psychology, SUSU Professor Vera Gryazeva-Dobshinskaya.
It turned out that the majority of respondents identified themselves with Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. Such people, according to psychologists’ conclusions, see themselves as creators but don’t feel to be in demand, and don’t know how to find an application for their creative capabilities.
Participants of the experiment, whose ‘doppelganger’ was the wizard Professor Dumbledore, want to see themselves as creators capable of helping the others in difficult situation. According to psychologists, by choosing Dumbledore, a person will subconsciously build one’s life following the ideals of goodness and sacrifice in order to achieve a common goal. Those, who identified themselves with Professor McGonagall, want to act as saviors coming to aid in critical situations.
Meanwhile, the most interesting results are connected with self-identification of people with negative characters. As authors of the research say, this is precisely for them that the feeling of being in-demand in the society is the most needed. Those, who find their reflection in Dolores Umbridge, are capable of neglecting the ethical side of a matter, and can become in-demand regardless the system of values they find themselves in.
Those who associate themselves with the dark lord Voldemort are characterized by big ambitions, striving for power, and self-identification through status roles. All decisions made by such people are targeted at achieving high ranks at any cost.
“If a child or a teenager associates himself with a negative character, open discussion becomes crucially important. A parent can help emphasize certain qualities of the characters in a certain pattern. For example, even the main negative character – Voldemort – was well-educated and surely possessed leader’s qualities. And the goals for achieving of which such qualities are to be targeted, get mainly determined by parents, considering they take active part in their children’s life,” said Associate Professor of the SUSU Department of Developmental Psychology and Age Related Counseling, Vyacheslav Kozlov, to Izvestiya.
At that, behavioral models of negative characters frequently are more efficient, which can become a foundation for altering one’s own social-and-role identity.
“In the future, we will be able to simulate interaction of factors and predict expected behavior on the basis of modern mathematical methods,” noted author of the research, Vera Gryazeva-Dobshinskaya.
As Associate Professor of Kazan Federal University’s Institute of Psychology and Education, Ramil Garifullin, told to Izvestiya, the method chosen by psychologists is widely used in practical application.
“This is a good projection technique, frequently used by psychologists. This isn’t a strictly scientific method, nevertheless it is used as a supplementary one. The feeling of compassion is important. Trajectories of behavior of a character, to which a person compassions, can provide interesting information to a psychologist, right up to revealing pathologies. The book displays a wide range of characters – this must be used,” noted Ramil Garifullin.