Arizona State University Course Makes Serious Psychological Study Of Taylor Swift

August 19, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |  

A new course from Arizona State University (ASU) will examine the psychology of mega pop star Taylor Swift: the singer, her life, and especially her lyricism. The ASU course has one prerequisite requirement: PSY 290: Research Methods. The instructor for the course is a graduate teaching assistant, Alexandra Wormley, who also teaches at Glendale Community College.  

In the ASU press release highlighting the course, Wormley stated that this course sets a positive example because it makes use of topical relatability’s correlation to student comprehension and retention. Wormley also disclosed that finding relevant connections between psychology and Swift would present a challenge.   

“As educators, we should be taking advantage of this little quirk in our brains to foster learning,” said Wormely. “If that takes a little extra work on my part to think through how to connect social psychology to Taylor Swift, then it is well worth it. It makes the learning — and the teaching — more fun.”

The course will focus on studying psychological phenomena such as gossip, relationships, and revenge, and then applying that knowledge to the themes of Swift’s songs.   

Wormley said the idea for the course came after her research assistants attended Swift’s March concert in Glendale. The municipality renamed itself “Swift City” for two days in honor of the concert, the first in a series of performances in the singer’s acclaimed “Eras Tour.”

It appears that Swift picked Arizona as a play on the name of her tour: “Era”-zona. The tour is projected to gross up to $2.2 billion, jolting the tourism industry in host cities with infusions of tens of millions of dollars; the Federal Reserve reported earlier this summer that Swift’s tour has boosted the economy. 

Apart from her recent, outsized impact on spurring economic growth, Swift has influenced American culture for nearly two decades.   

Since topping the charts in 2006, Swift’s public relationships with at least 14 famous men — Joe Jonas, Lucas Till, Taylor Lautner, John Mayor, Cory Monteith, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chord Overstreet, Eddie Redmayne, Conor Kennedy, Harry Styles, Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, Joe Alwyn, and (currently) Matt Healy — inspired a good portion of the 10 albums that have decidedly made her a household name.   

Swift, soon to be 34 in December, has never been married.

ASU isn’t the only one that considers Swift worthy of course-long study. Berklee College of Music in Boston, New York University, Rice University, Stanford University, University of Missouri, and University of Texas at Austin have all offered courses on the singer.   

New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music was the first to offer a course on Swift last year, sparking a chain reaction of other universities offering courses on the singer.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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