Arguing for Media Psychology as a Distinct Field

Pamela Brown Rutledge

in The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398809
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Arguing for Media Psychology as a Distinct Field


The field of media psychology is a recent arrival to the academic world. In spite of apparent overlaps with other disciplines, such as media studies, communications, or sociology, media psychology serves a distinct and necessary role because it shifts the focus of inquiry from media-centric to human-centric. When the Internet replaced the one-to-many communication model of mass media with a many-to-many model, it created peer-to-peer connectivity and turned information distribution into a social system. Interconnectivity is blurring what we once perceived as distinct divisions among technologies. More profoundly, a networked society with real-time access has redefined the roles of media producer, consumer, and distributor, challenging many core beliefs about the world and our place in it. In this globally connected world, media technologies are inextricable from daily life. How individuals and society use these capabilities will be determined in large part by whether we, as a society, are preoccupied with the challenges or seek out the opportunities. Seeing potential demands a forward-looking science that can move beyond traditional models to embrace the complex social system of technology and human behavior. Media psychology bridges this gap. At its best, media psychology seeks to understand the intersection of human behavior and technology to connect the positive capabilities of technology with human needs and goals so that individuals and society can grow and flourish.

Keywords: convergence; media psychology; motivation; social change; technology

Article.  13309 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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