I was reading an article this morning about The Milgram Experiment. If you're not familiar with the name - and I wasn't - it's the psychological experiment wherein the subject is asked to shock his supposed fellow subject if said subject gets the answers to a series of questions wrong. With increasing shocks for each wrong answer. Up to what is supposed to be a hazardous level of electric shock. 100% of subjects shocked their fellow man up to the second highest setting. Like 67% went all the way to the top.
I'd first heard about this experiment probably in HS Psychology class, and if not then, any of my college level courses. (I was a Psych major for 3 semesters.)
Psychology stuff interests the hell out of me. Always has. Studying it, not applying it - which was why I changed majors my Sophomore year. The thought of actually applying psychology in a doctor/patient setting began to give me the willies. I did change from Clinical Psych as a major to Behavioral Psych first, but even that step down didn't thrill me. I ended up moving to Speech/Communications and shifting Psych to a minor (because who wants to lose all those credits?)
I ended up taking the big Psych 101, then Child Psych, Behavioral Psych, the Psychology of Sexual Behavior, and one called 'Causes and Control of Aggression'. All very interesting stuff. Well, CCA was interesting but I had a shit for a prof, so it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. Still, I learned stuff.
And looking back over the past 15 years of writing... Gah, it's been 15 years since I started what would become my first finished novel... a lot of what I learned in those courses has been helpful. I mean, with my memory problems, I wouldn't be able to pass a test on any of the information I learned back 1988-1992 - like I didn't remember it was called 'The Milgram Experiment' and it was done by Stanley Milgram back in the '60s - but it's all still in there.
Everything in there can be used to enrich the writing. Art, Philosophy, Mythology. It ain't just the English courses that are important. In fact, my English 101 was pretty much a pat on the head course and did me no damn good. English 201 kicked my ass and made me a better writer, but it wasn't the most important course to my eventual writing career. The most important courses were probably the Psych ones.
Learning about what makes the human mind tick. Interesting stuff.
What about you? Ever take a Psych class? What do you think were the most important subjects for you?