Campus: CSU, Los Angeles -- August 11, 2000


Popular Movie Quotes Are Subject of Cal State L.A.'s Media Psychology Lab Study

The California State University, Los Angeles Media Psychology Lab, under the auspices of Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D., professor of media psychology, recently released the results of its study, "Popular Movie Quotes: Reflections of a People and a Culture," at the Annual Convention of the American Psychology Association in Washington DC.

A nationwide, cross-sectional sample of 1,083 respondents ranging in ages from 10 to 90, representing four major ethnic groups and an equal number of males and females, were surveyed as to their favorites movie quotes in the study. Quotes were tallied and categorized according to the emotion expressed (positive, negative, neutral) and also according to the sentiments expressed (sexual, romantic, physically or verbally aggressive, despair, etc.)

The study reports that of the top 20 quotes for all respondents (actually more because of ties), only four (15%) are out of the mouths of woman actors.

"While American have a place in their hearts for romantic movie quotes and words of wisdom, they prefer movies that express aggression and sarcastic one-upmanship. America is embracing well-formed phrases that say, 'GOTCHA!'" said Dr. Fischoff in response to the study. "It looks like Americans are feeling annoyed, frustrated, resentful and fed-up. To characterize and to summarize what Americans prefer in their movie quotes, it's 'hasta la vista punk, you've made my day'."

In a recent article about the study, USA TODAY wrote: "The summer's likeliest candidate for a line of dialogue that will resonate in years to come [is]: 'At my signal, unleash hell!' It's the command given by Russell Crowe at the beginning of Gladiator to rouse his troops. You can imagine a parent parroting it when unloading the car-pool kiddies out of the SUV."

Dr. Fischoff received his Ph.D. from New School for Social Research. He is founding president of Division 46 of the American Psychological Association (Media Psychology), a fellow in the American Psychological Association, and was founder, and for eight years was executive director, of the Psychotherapy Screening Guild. Miles to Go, an award-winning docudrama about facing death, which Dr. Fischoff co-authored, aired on CBS-TV and was nominated for the Humanitas Award and Outstanding Screenplay for Television by the Writers Guild of America. An expert on media psychology, Dr. Fischoff introduced the first course in Media Psychology in the nation at Cal State L.A.


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