Inside Out Inside Out

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If you thought the Pixar movie, Inside Out, was pretty cool, you should also know that its depiction of the inner life of the mind closely follows most current psychological thinking about the way things work. Most current thinking, that is.

The movie is set within the mind of Riley, a young girl. Five personified emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, vie to lead her through life as her parents move the family to San Francisco and she has to adjust to disappointing new surroundings.

There is a lot about this film for a shrink to cheer about. It presents a nuanced view that encourages you to embrace emotions as something beneficial, rather than urging you to master them. Whenever your shrink asks, How does that make you feel?, she is asking you to consider your feelings and decide upon things as if they matter, as if they have something important to contribute.

The movie falls short only for us dyed-in-the-wool psych nerds who insist that your experiences are not defined by whichever emotions seem to be controlling you, as seen in the movie.

Emotions do not drive you, they are the skid marks left behind the unconscious maneuverings of your psyche. If you think the phrase unconscious maneuverings of your psyche is vague and mysterious, well, it’s supposed to be. Any attempt to divide experience up into discrete feeling states, never does them justice. You know this, yourself, when you answer your shrink’s question; one word can never sum up how you feel.

Click here to watch a short YouTube video discussing the relationship between the movie and chief psychological theories.