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link to articles on media psychology
link to articles on media psychology


Media Psychology:
The Intersection of Psychology with Technology

Division 46 was founded in the 1980s to bring scholars, researchers, practitioners, and clinicians together to understand the implications of the increasing integration of technology across society.

Did you know that 90% of communication is screen-based and 77% of people use multiple devices simultaneously?

This makes 'media' interchangeable with 'technology' and highlights the importance of understanding the psychological impact of human interaction with technologies across society and around the globe. Media psychology, therefore, is a continually evolving field that touches every aspect of daily and business life.

Augmented Reality (AR) is used in the treatment of phobias

iPhone Apps can help Veterans self-manage PTSD

Video games designed using avatars have revolutionized the U.S. Army training strategies?

What is media psychology?

The term 'media psychology' is often confusing because many people associate 'media' with mass media rather than technology. Many even have the idea that media psychology is more about appearing in the media than anything else.

The 'media' in Media Psychology means 'mediated experience' not any single kind of media or technology.

In our globally net-worked world, it is impossible to have a mediated experience without technology.

It is equally impossible for technology to have value without facilitating a human goal, whether that is social connection or content and information distribution.

Media Psychology applies the science of psychology, from cogntive psychology and neuroscience to clinical practice, to research, analyze and develop mediated experiences using technology with the goal of benefiting society.

Technology makes profound changes in society. We all know that Gutenberg' the printing press changed the course of history by democratizing knowledge. How will the Internet and mobile devices make their mark on sociey?

Read more about the evolving definition of Media Psychology (downloadable PDFs):

What does a media psychologist do?

Media psychologists can be researchers, user experience designers, communicators, mental health providers, consultants, educators or application developers. Media psychology is applicable to a wide variety of industries and occupations that involve the use or development of mediated communications and information technologies.

Media psychology includes research and applications dealing with all forms of media technologies: traditional and mass media, such as radio, television, film, video, newsprint, magazines, music, and art as well as new and emerging technologies and applications, such as social media, mobile media, interface design, educational technologies, interactive media technologies, and augmented, virtual and blended environments.

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What does Division 46 do?

Our mission is to advance the science of psychology in the research, use and development of media and technology.

The Society is a community of psychologists and other professionals working across multiple disciplines and industries, including consultants, technology developers, educators, communications professionals, mental health practitioners, medical professionals and researchers who focus on some aspect of media and technology.

The Society also strives to encourage and expand public knowledge through accurate dissemination of information about the impact of the media and technology on human behavior and through the development of media and technological literacy programs essential to participating fully in a digital society.

The Division's objectives are to:

  • Support research that enhances the understanding of the impact of media and technology and their effectiveness to transmit information, create social connection and influence behavior

  • Develop a community for the discussion and development of theoretical frameworks for the study and practice of media psychology

  • Support the development and use of positive and prosocial media and technologies
  • Encourage the ethical use of technology across all domains, from education and healthcare to marketing practices

  • Support efforts to encourage the public and educators to integrate technological literacy and digital citizenship

  • Facilitate the interaction between psychology and media representatives to encourage a fair and accurate representation of the science and practice of psychology and encourage the effective and ethical uses of media to inform the public about the science and profession of psychology and the impact of media and technology on individuals and society

  • Enrich and encourage the teaching, training, and practice of media psychology

  • Encourage adherence to APA ethical standards and guidelines in the use of media. The Division has liaisons with the APA Education, Practice, Science, and Public Interest Directorates.

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