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Overview and Definition of Media Psychology

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Media psychology is the application of psychological science--the study of human behavior, emotions, and cognitions--to all forms of mediated communications and technologies. It takes into account the spectrum of activity from production, content, and consumption to distribution and impact. It is a continually changing, multi-disciplinary field with implications for individuals, organizations and society. We apply it to technology design, such as augmented and mixed realities, marketing and brand development, with approaches such as transmedia storytelling, and usability and audience engagement based on core human goals, needs and motivations.

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Overview and Definition of Media Psychology

  1. 1. What is Media Psychology?          Pamela  Rutledge,  PhD,  MBA            September  2015  
  2. 2. Defining Narrative 1 The last half century has seen an explosion of new media that has transformed our society
  3. 3. How do we understand human experience in a media-rich, globally-networked world?
  4. 4. Biological Imperative: Born to Communicate From early man to present, people have invented ways to communicate and connect
  5. 5. + Media + psychology = ?
  6. 6. How Do We Define It? • Psychology is the study of human behavior, emotions, and cognitions • Media includes all forms of mediated communications and technologies • Multi-disciplinary • Continually changing
  7. 7. Why  Do  We  Define  Media  Psychology?   • Set the compass and standards of a field • Frame the work of its practitioners • Create an intellectual basis for exchange and integration • Inform the public
  8. 8. Cognitive Positive Constructivist Social Narrative Developmental Psychologists Often Disagree Complex Systems NeuropsychIndividual Differences
  9. 9. 5  Major  PerspecDves   Biological   • EvoluDonary   • Neuroscience   Psycho-­‐ dynamic   • Freud   Behavioral   • Skinner   CogniDve   •  Piaget   HumanisDc   •  Carl  Rogers   Different  views  on  the  roots  of  human   development  and  behavior  
  10. 10. Theory Changes Questions We Ask •  Narrative •  Social •  Developmental •  Positive •  Personality •  Emotions •  Attitudes/Beliefs •  Preferences •  Perception
  11. 11. Psychology  is  Really  Old  
  12. 12. Phineas  Gage  1848  
  13. 13. Neuropsychology & Evolutionary Psychology §  Biological and evolutionary explanations for behaviors and emotions §  Triune brain theory §  Implications for research on attachment style, relational style, attention, fear, persuasion, addiction as related to media use and influence
  14. 14. Psychoanalytic Theory þ Focus is on understanding conscious and unconscious processes þ Developed by Sigmund Freud þ Theorists: Horney, Adler, Erikson, Jung, Fromm, Rank, Klein, Sullivan þ Basis for understanding personality and elements of media effects tradition, uses and gratifications, parasocial relationships
  15. 15. Behaviorism   þ People  respond  to  environmental  sDmuli  without  his/her   mental  state  being  a  factor   þ People  learn  behaviors  through  condiDoning   þ Operant  –  making  a  connecDon  through  reinforcement  of  posiDve  or   negaDve  rewards   þ Classical  –  naturally  occurring  sDmulus  paired  with  learned  response   þ Pavlov,  Skinner,  Watson,  Hull  (drive   reducDon),  Bandura  (social  learning)  
  16. 16. Humanistic Psychology þ Holistic view that focus is on the human context for motivations, attitudes and needs þ Rogers, Fromm, Maslow, Sullivan þ People select media experiences that satisfy cognitive, social and emotional needs
  17. 17. Cognitive Psychology þ Cognitive Revolution þ  Reaction to Behaviorism þ  Perception, Language, Attention, Memory, Problem Solving, Decision Making and Judgment, Intelligence þ Among the theorists: þ Early: Gestalt Wertheimer, Wundt, þ Chomsky, Broadbent, Gardner, Piaget þ Bruner, Beck, Seligman þ Applicability for media psychologists includes: þ Usability, developmental appropriateness of technology and content, Information comprehension, schemas, categorization, belief formation, perception and learning styles
  18. 18. Social Learning/Social Cognition • Bandura • Learning in a social context • People can learn by observing from others • Behaviorist perspective vs. Cognitive perspective • Learning can occur without a change in behavior • Basis for research on violence, stereotype emulation, media framing
  19. 19. Evolved into Social Cognition Overt   Behavior   Environment   Individual   Factors   þ Roots in social psychology þ Theorists have moved toward this perspective from other schools of thought þ  Bandura þ  Bruner þ  Allport þ  Festinger þ Reciprocal Determinism
  20. 20. Social Constructionism • Shifts emphasis to social dimension • People construct beliefs about the world from their interactions with other people, environments, and culture • Learning is most successful when people provide “scaffolding” to help learners reach the next level • Basis for most research on identity development, multiple intelligences • Major theorists: Vygotsky, Gergen, and Mead
  21. 21. Social  Psychology   þ Social  idenDty   þ Group  affiliaDon   þ Group  behaviors   þ Stereotypes   þ Social  influence   þ CogniDve  dissonance   þ Sherif  –summer  camp/ group  conflict   þ Tajfel  –  social  idenDty   þ Asch  –  social  influence   þ Cialdini  –  persuasion,   social  influence   þ FesDnger    
  22. 22. Narrative: The Storied Nature of Life þ Narrative provides • Meaning and identity • Sharing of narratives • Basis for organizing, making meaning and sharing of experience • Universal themes, archetypes and myths • McAdams, Josselson, Polkinghorne, Bruner, Jung, Campbell • Related theories: •  Presence •  Narrative transportation •  Mirror neurons
  23. 23. Developmental Psychology •  Maturation across the lifespan where development progresses through stages, transitions, relational skills, or life tasks •  Many draw from psychoanalytic theory and identified stages that must be successfully mastered for healthy development •  Names to know: Erikson, Piaget, Bowlby, Ainsworth
  24. 24. Positive Psychology •  Focus is on the empirical study of •  Positive emotions •  Optimism •  Resilience •  Self-Efficacy •  Trust •  Strengths–based traits •  Healthy institutions and systems •  Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi, Deiner, Fredrickson, Lyubomirsky •  Relevant to development of prosocial media including public service messaging, learning technologies, gaming, usability
  25. 25. What Does a Media Psychologist Do? •  Many specializations combine the knowledge of psychology and media applications •  Design and production •  Assessment and evaluation of technology, interfaces, usability, and content, developmental and cognitive fit •  Industry specific solutions: education, media literacy, healthcare, marketing, entertainment, public policy, social support
  26. 26. Media Psychology: Psychology for the 21st Century þ Ability to evaluate and anticipate impact: þ Individual and social interaction þ Access to information þ Content production and distribution þ Disruption þ Dissolving boundaries
  27. 27. Why media psychology? Media and technology have inherent moral issues Psychology is unique in its focus on the health and wellbeing of individuals and society
  28. 28. Pamela Rutledge, PhD, MBA prutledge@fielding.edu Twitter: @pamelarutledge Blog: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/positively-media           Thank you!!

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