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Biopsychological Analysis of A Beautiful Mind

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Schizophrenia, a term introduced by Bleuler, names a persistent, often chronic and usually serious mental disorder affecting a variety of aspects of behavior, thinking, and emotion. Biopsychology analyzes how the brain influences behavior, feelings, and thoughts (Kalat, 2016). Peculiar behaviors may be associated with social withdrawal and disinterest. “A Beautiful Mind” is a 2001 biographical drama films about the life of John Nash, a mathematical genius that suffering schizophrenia (Howard, 2001). The film is a great illustration to the topic Biopsychology Movie Analysis as discussed in the 14.3: Schizophrenia as displayed online. The film is begun when John Nash arrives at Princeton University because of the prestigious Carnegie scholarship for mathematics. He meets some new friends and some fellow Carnegie scholarship receiver, but he rather deals with numbers than with people According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is a “chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves” and causes people to seem as if they are “out of touch with reality” (Michael 2005). Multiple symptoms are associated with schizophrenia, but some of the most common are hallucinations, delusional behavior, and trouble focusing. These effects may make the victim to be violent from time to time but not always; some may not show signs of violence. The movie begins with John introducing himself to other math graduate students, where he tries to make jokes with good intentions but ends up offending other students and left. After this confrontation, he heads back to his room, where he meets his roommate, Charles, who is supposedly a graduate student studying English. This is the first time that John’s schizophrenic delusions become apparent to the audience as his room is made for one person.

The peak of John Nash’s schizophrenic delusions occurs while he is giving a speech about his current mathematical research. During this speech, he sees men in suits in the aisles of the lecture room, who he thinks are Soviet spies who have been ordered to capture him. As a result of this delusion, he runs out of the room and is chased by these supposed Soviet spies. They capture him, and it becomes apparent that these men are not Soviet spies but are men sent to get him and bring him to a psychiatric hospital. John’s delusions have made him believe that he is working for the Department of Defense under a mysterious government agent. In the hospital, his wife, Alicia, reveals to him that there is no agent and she even goes on to show him that she was able to track down these top-secret documents. John is ordered to under insulin shock therapy and take medication on the side to help cure his debilitating schizophrenia. These shock therapy sessions are very violent and required restraints to hold him down while watched by a team of nurses and doctors. After his relapse, John is faced with the decision that he will have to return to the psychiatric hospital and take medicine, which will hinder his research or he can learn to deal with his disability so that he can do what he loves: math. He can return to Princeton and agrees to work out of the library. While starting to work at Princeton, he still had to learn to deal with his delusions in a new environment, which proved to be difficult but manageable. It is during this period of John Nash’s life that he was able to resume his research and when he wins him the Nobel Prize in economics for work that he did for his dissertation. Advocacy, government, and public-service groups rely on a variety of strategies to diminish the impact of stigma on persons with severe mental illness. These strategies include protest, education, and promoting contact between the general public with these disorders. The domains for the cognitive battery were initially selected through careful examination of factor analytic studies of cognition in schizophrenia, and they include the speed of processing, attention, vigilance, working memory, verbal learning, visual learning, and reasoning and problem-solving. The movie Beautiful Mind analyzes Dr. John Nash as a mathematical genius and a natural code breaker, at least in his mind. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which is a psychological disorder. According to Baird, paranoid schizophrenia is when a person has “delusions of grandeur and persecution often accompanied by hallucinations” (Charles 2011). The person has a split from real life circumstances, where their new reality becomes fact to them.

According to Physicians' Review Network (PRN) (2016), It is estimated to affect about 1.1% of the world population suffer from the disease. About 3.5 million Americans are victims and commonly attack individuals of age between 16 to 25 years. Study directly links the condition to stress, making men more vulnerable compared to women. The condition is rare among children, and in rarely starts to show at 13 years. The article relates well with the film because of the symptom and signs outlined in the article are in line with the characteristics displayed in the “A Beautiful Mind” film.

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According to the hospital, John Nash was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia because of certain criteria he showed, hallucinations and delusions. Dr. Nash had a break from reality when he thought he was working for the government to break codes sent from Russia in the newspapers across the county. In this instance, he was delusional because he created an alternate reality for himself. He showed signs of hallucinations by “hearing” people he regularly talked to and gave them names, although, in the movie, they were visual as well.

The development of Nash’s mental illness was acquired over some time. It probably started when he first arrived at Princeton. He was a solitary fellow and didn’t make friends easily. Even with a group of classmates, he tended to be in his world, with his thoughts, solving some type of problem. He had the anxiety to get a paper published when other classmates were continuously getting published in journals. This probably escalated his symptoms because of the stress placed on him and produced some form of negativity in his mind. He wanted to be thought successful, even though he was an introverted type of person. As one of the films that has brought more attention to mental illness than most others in recent years, “A Beautiful Mind” had the potential to change attitudes and increase people's understanding of schizophrenia ultimately though it fails both as an artistic endeavor and as a form of public consciousness-raising.

According to Khan et al., (2013), individuals suffering from the disease loose connection with reality and are often misunderstood as a split personality. It is known to affect the occupation and interpersonal relationships, mobility, and death rates. Although Nash does not succumb in the film, the disease is associated with increased death rates compared to normalcy. An individual becomes confused; this is illustrated in the film where Nash thinks the people following him want to harm him. The condition is characterized by a high sense of paranoia with the victim losing trust with what they know and see. This article is elaborate and informative, borrowing significant biological and physiological theories without data collection and analysis. The article definition and illustrations perfectly fit Nash’s behavior in the film, and the film got it right according to illustrations of this article.


In conclusion “A Beautiful Mind” in a great way demonstrates the Biopsychological; Schizophrenia and how it affects an individual’s brain and behavior. The definition for the disease may be different, but generally, it involves abnormal behavior resulting from individual losing connection with reality. Nash shows most of what the disease is known to cause.

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Biopsychological Analysis of A Beautiful Mind. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
“Biopsychological Analysis of A Beautiful Mind.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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Biopsychological Analysis of A Beautiful Mind [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2023 Dec 8]. Available from:
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