Mean Girls Personality Theory and Movie Analysis

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The movie that I decided to watch was mean girls. This movie is about a teenage girl who lived in Africa because her parents were doing research and then they had all moved to America. The girl’s name in the movie was Cady and she had never been home schooled before she moved to the United States of America.

Her first couple of days was rocky but she eventually made friends with two art students by the name of Janis Ian and Damien, her new friends told her to be careful around the popular girls in school known as the plastics.

One day while Cady was looking for her friends, a girl by the name of Regina George the main leader of the plastics wanted her to join their group because she thought she was really pretty.

Cady becomes a part of the group, but Janis convinces her to get revenge on Regina George because of Janis’s personal experience with Regina. Cady declines on getting revenge until Regina George gets back with her ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels who Cady liked and Regina claimed she would put in a good word for Cady.

Cady then decided that she would get revenge on Regina, so the movie is basically showing how Cady evolved from a sweet girl into a typical teenage girl.

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The three theories that I decided to pick for this movie were Social Learning theory and Behaviorism. I chose social learning theory because the theory stated that an individual’s behavior will be influenced by the environment around them, and since Cady was around the plastics that always spread mean and vicious rumors she became one of them.

Analysis of Behavioural and Motivational Theories

I chose behaviorism because Skinner stated behavior is a response to the environment which would explain why Cady decided to get even with Regina because that is what Regina George would do. Another theory that I thought that was displayed in the movie would be Dollard and Miller’s learning process which consisted of five steps, those four steps would be drive, cue, response, reinforcement effect. Drive is defined as a promotion of a specific action.

Social learning theory was a theory that Albert Bandura developed which explained how an individual’s behavior is influenced by the environment around them. There are four steps in the social learning theory. There are four ways that social learning can be developed and those four are attentional processes, retention processes, motor production, and motivational processes. The attention process just states that people are more likely to direct their attention on charismatic attractive models, to repeat the behavior.

The retention process is remembering schemas for later to put into use. Motor production is a convert, abstract idea to appropriate action. The motivational processes just states that there is an acquisition process which is what people learn to do, and performance would be when a person actually performed. The experiment that Bandura performed to prove this theory was the Bobo doll study. The study consisted of three groups of children. One group was shown an aggressive adult model and was asked to physically and verbally attack the doll.

The second group was shown a passive adult model and was told to ask passively, and the control group did not have an adult model. When the children were sent in a playroom to play with multiple toys that including the Bobo doll. The children that were shown the aggressive adult model appeared to be more aggressive towards the doll, and hit it with various objects such as pots, pans and dolls. There were various scenes in mean girls that displayed the social learning theory.

One of the examples would be when Janis Ian cut out the breast part out of Regina’s George’s tank top, Regina George noticed that she was wearing a shirt with the breasts cut out, but she didn’t care and went around the school that way, the whole school seen her and began to duplicate her style because they seen that an attractive model was wearing her tank top that way. This is part of the social learning theory because it states that there are four characteristics and one of them was attentional which just stated that people are more likely to copy other’s actions because they are attractive models.

There were several examples of this throughout the movie, at one point during the movie a girl said she had seen Regina George wearing army pants and flip flops so she went to get the exact outfit that Regina George had. Another one of the attention model would be when Regina George’s little sister was in the living room listening to milkshake and watching girls gone wild, and a girl on the television lifted up her shirt, so Regina George’s sister lifted her shirt up as if she was one of the girls in the girls gone wild video.

There were two examples of motivation models in the movie. One example would be when Cady skipped health class on her second day with Janis and Ian because they told her too, and that Cady was their friend. This is an example because while narrating the movie she stated that the reason that she stayed with them and skipped class was because Janis said that they were friends and she was in no position to pass up friends. Another one of the same would be when Cady was a nice girl at the beginning f the film and did not understand why everybody disliked the plastics until her supposed friend, Regina George was kissing Aaron Samuels the guy that Cady liked, after this happened Cady decided that she would be catty just like Regina George and use similar tactics to get even with her for that. It was acquired when the plastics asked Cady to sit with them, but it was carried out (performance) when she actually did stuff to sabotage Regina George. Skinner’s definition of behavior stated that behavior is a response to the environment.

Skinner also stated the two types of behavior which are operant and respondent. Operant is when behavior is elicited by a person, it is not an automatic response and it is not learned. Behavior can be altered but it depends on the consequences. Respondent behavior is when behavior is elicited by stimulus, it is an automatic response, and is a behavior that people cannot learn. Respondent behavior can be altered through conditioning. In the movie mean girls this was displayed when Cady finally went to school, so that she could make friends.

She was a nice and respecting young lady until she became a part of the popular girls. Cady’s behavior throughout the movie changed because she learned the behavior by hanging out with the popular girls. Cady was not interested in getting revenge on Regina George until she told Regina George that she liked Aaron Samuels and Regina George decided that she wanted to resume their relationship. So, when Cady saw that Regina George took Aaron Samuels back, Cady decided that she would join Janis in getting revenge. She learned her behavior from the plastics and Janis Ian.

But at the end her behavior changed back to how it was in the beginning when she was a nice respectable girl. Cady’s behavior changing throughout the movie is described as operant behavior. Since Cady was punished toward the end of the movie for claiming that she was responsible for writing the burn book she was grounded by her parents, and her teacher made her join Mathletes because she was failing her math class. Her parents were provided her with a punishment because she was misbehaving and was trying to correct her behavior so that she could be similar to the girl that they know before she started high school.

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Mean Girls Personality Theory and Movie Analysis. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from http://paperap.com/mean-girls-personality-theory-and-movie-analysis/

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