Media Psychology 101

everybody knows that media does or doesn’t (pick one) have a profound influence on our lives and behavior. It’s common sense! Except what is common sense to one person is absolute rubbish to the next. There are probably few areas of modern social science that are as fiercely and rancorously debated as is media psychology. Beginning with the Payne Fund studies of the 1930s, nearly a century of social science research has failed to definitively bring us to any conclusions. Are there any Media certainly is an important part of our lives. Our use of media exploded through the 20th and into the 21st centuries, such that media ranging from books to computers to cell phones are an integral part of most of our lives. Further, the line between entertainment media and industry media has become increasingly blurred. But do media profoundly shape us? Or does media merely reflect our own lives (sometimes in ways that are less than flattering)? Despite considerable hyperbole and politicking, the answers are often subtle and individualized. Or, put another way, it’s often hard to give people the answer they want to hear if we are sticking close to the data.

This book concerns itself with the research on how media influences people, how people influence media, and how society even influences the way we try to answer questions about how media influences people. In addressing many of the questions about how the media influences us, the answers may surprise you. You may not like some of them. But I hope you will enjoy joining me on this exploration of this ubiquitous force in most of our lives

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