What is Media Psychology?

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As one of the newest emerging branches of the dynamic psychology field, media psychology is focused on studying the intersections between human behavior and media technologies in our increasingly digital world. Since research shows that 90% of our daily communications are now screen-based through mobile technologies, psychology is expanding its reach to better understand the psychological impact of human interaction with technology across the globe at different societal levels.

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Despite the fact that media is often associated with newspapers, magazines, and television, media takes on a broader term in this case to represent the mediated experiences of technology in facilitating human social connection. If you are interested in joining this revolutionary new spotlight in the psychology field, the following is an overview on how media psychologists are studying the evolving technologies in every aspect of our lives.

Importance of Studying the Psychology of Media

At the speed of light, media technologies are beginning to infiltrate our daily lives with new gadgets entering the market on a daily basis. With these new technologies introducing more convenient capabilities that were previously unheard of, the way we work, communicate with one another, play games, and interact with society are vastly changing. As a result, media psychologists are given the vital responsibility of studying human reactions from the rapid introduction of technology. While there has been very little study on the positive uses of technologies, most research has delved deep into a wide range of pressing media topics, including consumer manipulation, information overload, violence portrayal, and other negative impacts of media.

What Media Psychologists Do

Since fear is a common consequence of major change, media psychologists seek to bridge the gap by helping the public understand some of the repercussions of technological changes. Unlike other branches of psychology, media psychologists can be researchers, communicators, mental health providers, software developers, teachers, business executives, web designers, and more. Through a wide variety of industries involved the development of mediated communications, media psychologists are busy at work researching the implications of human interaction in traditional or emerging technologies. From film and newsprint to social media and mobile devices, media psychologists are interested in conducting studies related to how information technologies can play a role in impacting our human behaviors.

How to Specialize in Becoming a Media Psychologist

Since media psychology presents a blend of psychology with technology, individuals interested in this professional career path should ensure that their higher education experiences encompass both of these fields. For entry-level positions, a bachelor’s degree related to psychology or communications is usually the best start with elective coursework in social psychology, behavioral science, digital media, and developmental psychology. Most successful media psychologists then further their education by earning a graduate degree at the master’s or doctoral level. If you are aiming towards academia in a faculty or research position, you will need to possess a Ph.D. in Psychology with specialized interests in media. At this time, there are several universities nationwide that are beginning to introduce degree programs related to media and communications psychology for this career.

Overall, despite popular belief, media psychologists are not involved in appearing on television shows, making cameos in movies, hanging out with famous movie stars, or simply staring at a television screen for a living. Within the emerging field of media psychology, these specialized psychologists are conducting breakthrough research that blends psychology with technology to understand how our digital revolution is having an impact on our human experiences.

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