Media psychology

Media psychology

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 of positive media [1][2][3].


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's first book devoted to the then-emerging field of media psychology was Perspectives on Psychology and the Media, edited by Sam Kirschner and Diana Kirschner.[4] The APA Media Psychology Division 46 of the American Psychological Association now defines its purpose as focusing on the roles psychologists play in various aspects of the media, including traditional and new technologies.[5][6] 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. It also expands the field to include the application of psychology to media by anyone working in the area and specifically applying psychology in media related situations.

The 1998 APA Media Psychology Division 46 Task Force Report prepared by Bernard Luskin and Lilli Friedland on Psychology and New Technologies broadened the definition of media psychology, set the stage for media psychology to become a more widely researched area and led to the establishment of new university programs in media psychology. The Ph.D program at Fielding Graduate University, the UCLA/Fielding MA degree partnership in Media Psychology and Social Change and the Touro University Worldwide MA degree program in Media and Communications Psychology are examples. It is now being widely recognized that all media affecting human behavior does so through communication and media and communications psychology have become blended areas of research leading to increasingly valuable insights.

See also

  • Journal of Media Psychology


  1. ^ Giles, D. (2003) Media Psychology, Lawrence Erlbaum
  2. ^ Rutledge (2007) "What is Media Psychology?"
  3. ^ Fremlin (2008) "Understanding Media Psychology" APS
  4. ^ Kirschner, Sam; Kirschner, Diana (1997). Perspectives on Psychology and the Media. American Psychological Association. 
  5. ^ "Media Psychology - Division 46 of the APA". Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  6. ^ "Media Psychology - Articles". Retrieved 2010-01-01. 

External material


  • Giles, D. (2003) Media Psychology, Mahwah,NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
  • Rutledge, P. (2007) "What is Media Psychology?", Media Psychology Research Center [1]
  • Fremlin, J. (2008) "Understanding Media Psychology" APS Observer [2].


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