Begun Center Senior Research Associate, Jane Timmons-Mitchell, PhD, provided a child psychologist’s insight on the hit new Pixar film Inside Out in her article, “Does Inside Out accurately capture the mind of an 11-year-old girl?” It was written for The Conversation, an independent, not-for-profit online media outlet that uses content sourced from the academic and research community.
“Children aren’t simply little adults,” writes Dr. Timmons-Mitchell, a practicing clinical child psychologist with 30 years of experience. “[A]s developmental psychologists like Urie Bronfenbrenner have noted, it’s important to take into account the extent to which children are embedded in systems like family and school, where parents and teachers play a huge role in teaching children Riley’s age how to mediate their feelings.
“Most 11-year-olds can tell you that they have feelings – and can name a few (though most would not name Disgust) – but more often than not, these feelings can overwhelm them. Adults, then, help them understand and make sense of their feelings, which is a gradual process.”
Dr. Timmons-Mitchell is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and is a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, where she teaches a graduate course on Practice Evaluation, showing students how to design evaluation for evidence based practice implementation.
Her work involves researching and disseminating evidence-based practices for children, youth, and families and she directs Begun projects such as an evaluation of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation SAMHSA grant, fidelity monitoring for the Ohio Department of Youth Services Targeted Reclaim and Cuyahoga County Tapestry System of Care evidence-based practices.
Jane further notes, “One of the best aspects of the film is that Joy realizes that she must work with Sadness to enrich Riley’s emotional life. This is an age-appropriate realization; increased empathy in girls, especially, occurs at around Riley’s age.”