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Media Psychology seeks an understanding of how people perceive, interpret, use, and respond to a media-rich world. In doing so, media psychologists can identify potential benefits and problems and promote the development positive media [1][2][3].

Some studies

McKibben reported that "people watch television when they felt depressed-that the strongest variable predicting that people would watch TV in the evening was that in the afternoon they felt the day was going badly." The report continues, "...watching actually makes us feel ore passive, bored, irritable, sad, and lonely."[4]

Academic discipline

The study of Media psychology emerged as an academic and professional discipline due to a social and commercial demand for the application of psychological theory and research into the impact of media and emerging media technologies both academic and non-academic settings. Psychology is fundamental to understanding the impact on individuals and groups of the integration of media technologies in our society. This field encompasses the full range of human experience of media--including affect, cognition, and behavior--in activities, events, theories, and practices. Media include all forms of mediated communication, such as pictures, sound, graphics, content and emerging technologies.

The emerging field represented a significant opportunity to use media in new and creative ways by understanding how psychology and media work together. Psychological theories can be applied to emerging social media, e-Learning, and digital technologies in pioneering ways. Media psychology draws from multiples disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, neuroscience, political science, rhetorics, computer science, communications, and international relations.

The APA Media Psychology Division 46 of the American Psychological Association defines its purpose as focusing on the roles psychologists play in various aspects of the media, including traditional and new technologies. It seeks to promote research into the impact of media on human behavior and understanding media use; to facilitate interaction between psychology and media representatives; to enrich the teaching, training, and practice of media psychology; to encourage the use of psychological theory and expertise to the development of media across a wide array of applications such as education and healthcare; and to prepare psychologists to interpret psychological research to the lay public and to other professionals.

Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California established the first Doctoral program in the field of Media Psychology in 2004. There are currently more than 75 matriculants in the program.

References

  1. Giles, D. (2003) Media Psychology, Lawrence Erlbaum
  2. Rutledge (2007) "What is Media Psychology?" [1]
  3. Fremlin (2008) "Understanding Media Psychology" APS [2]
  4. The Age of Missing Information, page 198, Penguin publishers, 1993, Bill McKibben


External material

Hardcopy

  • Giles, D. (2003) Media Psychology, Mahwah,NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
  • Rutledge, P. (2007) "What is Media Psychology?", Media Psychology Research Center [3]
  • Fremlin, J. (2008) "Understanding Media Psychology" APS Observer [4].

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