Pixar and the Spiral

I am thinking about the capstone project and what I can do. I have been leaning heavily towards an analysis of Inside Out alongside other Pixar movies. I want to analyze the movies and give a commentary about the way emotion and memory interact and play into growing up.

I have this idea of a spiral of interaction between emotion and memory. Think of it in terms of some significant event happens. At the time of this event the memory is formed, and along with it an emotional attachment to the memory. This is probably sounding a bit like Inside out, but bare with me. At another time, let’s say a week later, you think of the event again. This reflection looks back at the memory and the feeling, and inevitably it will be a small bit different, but maybe not too different at only a week. Now go a year later, and this event will be viewed much differently than it was before. Some parts of the memory might be gone, or changed, and the emotion surrounding it will likely be different as well. Now, five years, ten years later and so on, this even continues to transform and have new meaning and different impact. The spiral is a metaphor for the way the memories and emotions  change and build on each other to help define who you are as a person.

Now memory and emotion don’t define a person, but I think they say a lot about how a person sees themselves. Do you agree? What are other aspects that are relevant and should be considered for an idea like this?

I want to talk about this interaction of emotion and memory, and specifically I want to explore nostalgia. I also want to analyze the Pixar movies to find what they say about emotion and memory, and also about growing up. Finally it is my ultimate goal to weave the spiral, the analysis, and some personal experience into a cohesive story about growing up. More than just a story about growing up, I want to comment on how we learn about growing up, and how that impacts the way it happens.

If this sounds like a cool idea let me know! If you have any ideas for me to consider, or comments on what I’m doing let me know! Anything helps!



3 thoughts to “Pixar and the Spiral”

  1. Thanks for your post, Anthony! Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Inside Out and and I’m not terribly familiar with psychology, but I think this sounds like a very interesting and unique idea. As you discussed the “spiral of interaction between emotion and memory,” I couldn’t help but feel like it would be very cool if you were able to create an original visual that shows what you described.

    One consideration I would make would be to think about your audience. My lack of knowledge about psychology and Inside Out could make your project slightly more challenging for me to understand. Will there be science and other research included in your piece? If so, you may need to include background information, but that will depend on who you determine your audience is.

    Another question I have is how do you plan to provide commentary to your audience about Inside Out and other Pixar movies? Are you planning on using text or another form of media?

    I think this idea has a lot of great potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing the direction you take it.

  2. Anthony, this sounds like a great idea for a capstone project! I think that movies are one of the things that we all remember about our childhood, and most kids are affected in one way or another by the things they see and absorb. I personally have a strong attachment to two specific moves that I watched a lot as a child: The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. I learned a lot of basic lessons from these movies and have fond attachments to them. I haven’t seen Inside Out, but I love your idea of a spiral interaction, and I agree that the connection between memory, emotion, nostalgia, and experience can tell you a lot about a person and about growing up generally. While there many directions you can take this, I would suggest getting started by doing some research to see what has already been done in this field. Some useful disciplines could be psychology, screen arts and culture, and neuroscience. I also love Brendan’s idea of creating an original visual. This will definitely help explain your idea more clearly. Good luck!

  3. Hi Anthony! Your post was extremely thought-provocative for me. Over the course of my academic career, I’ve taken a number of psychology courses to supplement my Communication Studies degree, and have learned a ton about emotion and memory. I find this topic to be complex, introspective, and simply interesting. In response to your first question, I do agree that while memory and emotion don’t necessarily define a person, they say a ton about a person’s self-perception. Personally, I grew up a very family-oriented person, and my memories of shared experiences with my two siblings, parents, grandparents, and outside relatives shape the way I view myself, and the type of person that I am. I also think that people’s emotions and memories, if worn on an individual’s sleeve, can influence how other people perceive us as well.

    I love the “personal” aspect of your project, the part where you relate analysis to some cohesive story about growing up. What I love so much about this aspect is that it is, in reality, far from personal: it is relatable. Growing up is something everyone has experienced, or is still currently experiencing, and something everyone has ideas about or opinions on. I am struggling with clarifying and pinpointing this very aspect of my own project: the relatable factor. As of now, I plan to do a media analysis on some aspect of the publishing/magazine industry, and am concerned that nobody (other than myself) will be able to relate to the topic, or even the passion I feel toward it.

    The notion of growing up is simply intriguing. It reminds me of the discussion we had today in class about things that exist in the world that we don’t think about or acknowledge on a normal basis. How often do we set aside time to reflect on what caused us to mature, what set us back, or even the things that troubled us or came easy to us during our childhood. I like to think that I am still growing up, which could also be an interesting topic to explore: how do the discourses surrounding the notion of “growing up” differ the first time around (infant to adult) to the second time around (adult to elder)?

    In addition to Maya’s suggestions, I believe Communication Studies could be a great place to look for existing research. It would be interesting to see how this discipline, along with the disciplines Maya suggested (psychology, screen arts and culture, and neuroscience), have played a cohesive and coexisting role in the exploration of maturation.

    I’m excited to see how things turn out! Good luck!

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