Cognitive and Psychosocial Theories

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A.5 Cognitive and Psychosocial Theories

“About Schmidt” was an excellent, eye-opening kind of movie. I watched the movie one night, and then I decided to research the movie. Warren Schmidt is forced to deal with a random future as he enters retirement. Soon after, his wife passes away and he must come to terms with his daughter’s marriage to a man he does not care for and the failure that his life has become.

At his retirement party, another gentlemen states that Warren as devoted his life to something meaningful. He is respected by the community and has created wonderful, lasting friendship. Warren left his retirement party to go to the bar side of the building and ordered vodka. Warren did not look content with his retirement, his family, or his future.

The first theory that I came across in our reading is the disuse theory. The disuse theory is the view that memory fades or is lost because one fails to use the information. This theory suggests that information can fade away or decay unless it is exercised. “Use it or lose it,” as the saying goes. I believe that Warren may have felt this fear that his memory of his wife was going to fade away. He was not expecting her to pass away that day. He wrote a letter to his foster son, Ndugu. He vented in the letter about his wife. He stated, “Who is this woman that lives in my house and why does everything she does annoy me?” He also stated that he, “hates the way she sits, hates the way she smells, hates the way she makes him sit down to pee.” He just went on and on about disliking his wife. I feel he was very regretful for saying those things. If he would have just came home after mailing the letter instead of going to the Dairy Queen for a blizzard with no ice cream. Then, he came home to see his wife lying on the floor with the vacuum sweeper still running.

Then, whenever Warren was on his road trip due to his daughter not wanting Warren to show up early at her house, he bought a collection of dolls that his wife would have loved. Warren sat on the roof of his Winnebago with the collection of dolls, candles, and a blanket. He talked to Helen, asking if she was disappointed in him and forgave her for having an affair with Ray. He apologized and wanted forgiveness. Then, there was a shooting star bright in the sky. I believe he had a sense of closure from the sign of forgiveness.

The second theory I came across was the interference theory. This is the view that memory fades or is lost because of distractions experienced during learning or interference from similar or new information to the item to be recalled. This is when new information interferes with the material that has been stored over many years. This is also a cognitive theory that has to due with memory.

Perhaps Warren was afraid of what the future held now that his wife was gone. He used that as an excuse for his daughter not to get married in the near future. He did not like his daughter’s fiancé; therefore, he used the death of his wife to try and postpone the wedding plans. He may have been upset that his wife has recently passed and could not share in this “joyous” occasion.

Warren ended up traveling to locations that he has never been to or has not been to in a long time. This also brought back memories. He traveled to his hometown in Nebraska. The house was not there. There was a tire place in place of his family’s house. He had memories running through his head as he was singing, “Ring Around the Rosie.” He traveled to Kansas University. Then he was being a tourist, traveling to historical museums and going to see Buffalo Bill. I do not know if Warren was afraid that all the new information he was coming across was going to interfere with the memories he held from a long time ago. A third theory, Erikson’s Psychosocial Model is a great depiction of the stages between birth and death. The ego integrity versus despair came to mind in this movie. This is the eighth and last stage of...
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