What is Media Psychology?
APA Division 46 – Media Psychology
The last half century has seen an
of new media
How do we understand Human Experience
in this new world?
Born to Communicate
From early man to present, people
have invented ways to communicate
and connect
Media + psychology = ?
• Psychology is the study of the how and why of human behavior,
emotion, and thought
• Media includes all forms of mediated communications
• Media psychology continually evolves as technologies change
Psychological Perspectives
There are several different
psychological perspectives
that influence research topics
and and career applications
Some important areas are:
• How we understand
information in different media
• How we experience media
• Social Influences in media
content and social networks
• How media can support
positive growth and change
Cognitive Psychology
• Cognition = the process of thinking and understanding
• Cognitive Psychology
Perception, Language, Attention, Memory, Problem Solving,
Decision Making and Judgment, Intelligence
• Career opportunities:
Usability Developmental appropriateness of technology
and content Information comprehension Data
visualization Educational media
Social Influences
•People are influenced by their
interactions with other people,
environments, and culture
• Research areas: identity development, 
learning cultural influences persuasion
 media violence stereotypes
• Career opportunities: media content
development and impact media literacy
health applications
Humanistic & Narrative
• Humanistic: People-centered, holistic, looks
at people’s needs and experience
• Narrative: Looking at the story patterns in life
and meaning
• Career Opportunities:
clinical/therapeutic applications of
technology, marketing brand
development persuasive
communications group behavior/team
building  entertainment media
Positive Psychology
• Positive emotions
• Engagement
• Promoting strengths–based traits
• Career Opportunities: Prosocial messaging,
media content, and game design learning
technologies online curriculum
development motivational tools usability
design  company communications
Developmental Psychology
• How people grow, change and develop across their lifespan.
• Research: identity stages, life transitions, relational skills,
physical and psychological changes
• Career Opportunities:  game design  educational media 
accessibility technology and usability  media literacy
What Does a Media Psychologist Do?
• Combine the knowledge of psychology with the understanding
of how media applications work
• New technologies means more demand for media psychology
• Designers and producers of media for all distribution channels,
from entertainment to corporate training
• Assessment and evaluation of technology, interfaces, usability,
and content
• Integrating technology into educational curriculums, media
literacy education programs, and student support learning and
time management tools
Media Psychology is the Future
• Media revolution leaves
no industry, career,
country, or process
• Tools to promote
positive media
technologies and use
can help:
• People thrive
• Communities to come
• Nations to communicate
• Change educational and
financial opportunities
APA Division 46 for Media Psychology
Anderson, J. R. (1995). Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications. New York: W. H.
Freeman and Company.
Benjafield, J. G. (2005). History of Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books.
Giles, D. C. (2003). Media Psychology. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum
Harris, R. J. (2004). A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication (4th ed.).
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Slide show prepared by Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Media Psychology Research Center

Web 2.0 and Social Media - American Psychological