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15 absolutely essential documentaries on Psychology

15 absolutely essential documentaries on Psychology

May 21, 2022

Psychology and neurosciences are often very complicated subjects to understand them only from readings. There they go 15 documentaries about psychology essential, divided by themes.

Documentaries on Social Psychology

Below we offer you a selection of documentaries about psychology that can change the way you see things. Take good note!

1. The Act of Killing (2012)

During the Cold War, Colonel Suharto came to power in Indonesia through a coup d'etat. Thereafter, he led a campaign of mass murder of communists that resulted in the death of thousands of civilians. The Act of Killing is a documentary nominated for an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary in which Anwar Congo and Herman Koto, two former mercenaries under Suharto, explain and recreate the murder crimes they committed years ago as part of their work.


The film is composed of murder scenes and the confessions of paramilitaries who have never faced punishment for what they did and who are still protected by the government. In this story you can see clear cases of depersonalization and of reification of the enemy, very frequent processes in contexts of systematic extermination and genocide.

2. The Shock Doctrine (2009)

A reference in documentaries about social psychology. It is a film based on the famous book that Naomi Klein published in 2007 and that receives the same name. It explains how certain unpopular political measures can be implemented using fear to create a permanent state of emergency.


3. Psychological War (2010)

This documentary focuses on the maneuvers and techniques with which public opinion has recently addressed certain issues, making millions of people think in a certain way through propaganda and Public Relations. Among the people who appear in the story of Psychological Warfare are Noam Chomsky, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

4. Manufacturing Consent. Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

The philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky relates the ways in which the public is deceived, sometimes publishing false data and sometimes omitting important information, so that ordinary citizens can not make decisions freely. Chomsky argues that it is not necessary to censor to create uniform and predictable states of opinion To achieve this, it is enough to throw huge amounts of insignificant data that mask the absence of important information.


What is explained here is a sample of why freedom can only exist given certain premises (among them, that of having all the important information). If you have ever wondered why everyone has such similar opinions despite enjoying theoretical freedom to direct their lives, this can give you some clues.

Documentaries on Educational Psychology

5. The Finland Phenomenon (2011)

This is a documentary about educational psychology and education by values . It examines the most admired teaching system in the world: Finnish.

6. The Prohibited Education (2012)

Argentinean independent film that focuses on the problems of conventional education its effects on youth. Other models of educational system are proposed, although due to the nature of the documentary, the possible solution to the gaps in the current educational system is quite blurred.

Most of the following documentaries on psychology have the format of a television documentary and are shorter in duration.

Documentaries on psychology and neuroscience

6. Mystical Brain (2006)

A group of researchers from the University of Montreal study the neural processes that occur during meditation and mystical experiences.

7. Total Isolation (2008)

What happens when your brain is left totally alone, deprived of stimuli? This documentary answers the question investigating the brain activity of people in total isolation.

8. Man with 7 Seconds of Memory

This short documentary examines the life of Clive Wearing, a man who, due to lesions in the hippocampus, suffers from retrograde and antegrade amnesia, just like the protagonist of Memento. Every 7 seconds, your immediate memories vanish.

9. Is Seeing Believing? (2010)

A journey through the brain and physiological processes that explain the optical illusions . In this fragment the McGurk Effect is explained:

Documentaries on Development Psychology

10. Why Do We Talk?

The mechanisms of language, exposed in this interesting documentary. Essential for those students or psychologists interested in language development.

11. The Secret Life of the Brain (2002)

It focuses on the development of the human brain (and the psychological stages that accompany the process) throughout the life of people.

Documentaries on psychology and mental disorders

12. María and I (2013)

Documentary focused on autism that analyzes the specific case of a person with this disorder. valuable if you want to know firsthand how an autistic person is. You can see it here.

13. My Bipolar Son

It talks about the upbringing and coexistence with young people with bipolar disorder. You can see it here.

14. 1% Schizophrenia (2006)

Film against frivolization and the prejudices associated with schizophrenia. Directed by Ione Hernández and produced by the renowned Julio Médem.

Documentaries on Economic Psychology

15. Mind Over Money (2010)

The documentary explores the psychological factors behind decision-making and the management of finances and economics.


The Earth is Not Alone - Space Documentary HD (May 2022).


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