President’s Column: Media Psychology and Technology 2014: A Call to Action

Leadership will shape the future of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology.

Bernard Luskin, EdD


Logo by Vincent W. Hevern, Le Moyne College

Recently, APA Council affirmed the importance of the APA Society for Media Psychology and Technology by recognizing that the proposed new division titled, Psychology and Technology duplicated the mission of Division 46 and caused confusion.  All those interested in the new division are invited to join with Division 46 members and to bring important leadership to the subjects in which they are interested. The Society for Media Psychology and Technology presently includes psychologists, researchers, industry leaders, educators,and lay individuals working together to explore needs and opportunities in media psychology and technology.  All divisions of APA apply psychology to technology in specific ways.  By design, Division 46 is at the crossroads of psychology and technology.  We study and report on the media effects on behavior.  Our 2014 goals include:

  1. Develop partnerships with other divisions to network and integrate media psychology throughout APA.  Many of our members belong to multiple divisions.  We actively invite members from all divisions to participate with us to establish new initiatives in psychology and technology.
  2. Increase membership in the Society for Media Psychology and Technology consistent with the increased interest in the study of media psychology and technology. New members include psychologists in all fields, practitioners in any field who have an interest in media psychology and technology, including students from the increasing number of programs in media psychology.
  3. Provide support and advocacy in the initiation of new courses, certificates, masters and doctoral degree programs in Media Psychology and Technology and in Media Studies. The field is growing in the same way that cognitive psychology did in the 1960s.


Social media, telehealth and teletherapy, online and distance education, in and out of the classroom and virtual classroom, corporate communications, entertainment consulting, traditional media programming, providing on camera expertise, virtual and augmented reality therapies, telehealth and Telepsychology research, consumer products, brand development, marketing, advertising, product placement, game theory, and the military are all within our scope.  Media Psychology is central in Cinema, including film analysis, media assisted rehabilitation, telecommuting communications, effective public health, public service, public policy, and political campaigns.  Media Psychology is applied in medical education and practice and in all forms of publishing.  Some of the specialized areas have their own constituencies, organizations, and associations. We need opportunities to develop and offer new certificates, courses and degree programs in Media Psychology and Technology.  Media psychology is growing in the same pattern that cognitive psychology grew in the 1960s. A major reason explaining why the scope of Division 46 is so broad is that our work is about psychology applied to technology, wherever it is used.

On the global stage, social media has become a societal force.  The explosion of MOOCs and the growth of distance and blended learning represent areas of opportunity.  This year we have established new committees in Distance Education and Corporate Communications.  All types of publishing are developing new media dimensions.  Health and medical related media education are moving forward apace.  It is important to recognize that today’s media centric fields include writers, producers, programmers, engineers, designers, directors, artists, cinematographers, public relations and advertising specialists, technologists and others who, more and more, study and apply media psychology to their work.  Digital technology that facilitates wired and wireless communication now blankets the world and reaches into space.  Media psychology is at the crossroads of psychology and technology, and the specializations are about psychology.

There is a growing special need in education at all levels.  As new courses and programs emerge, educational institutions will increasingly need new faculty and staff who understand higher concepts in media arts and sciences.  Faculty members are needed who understand that media communication tools are both sensory and intellectual and who can provide leadership in education.  Full members, student members and associate members from business, industry, publishing, etc., are encouraged to join the Society and participate in the discussions on the listserv and in the various activities of Division 46.  Simply go to the Division 46 website to find instructions regarding membership.  I am also easy to reach via e-mail or by phone (310-749-1661) if anyone wants to talk about membership or the Society for Media Psychology and Technology.

The future of media psychology and technology is bright as a sub-specialty in psychology.  New courses, certificate and degree programs need to be offered by colleges and universities.  Key leadership should come from the members of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology who represent many colleges and universities.

Each committee within the Society for Media Psychology and Technology is important to make strategic contributions.  Leadership from those chairing our committees is important.  Members need to actively participate and chairs should pursue a call to action.

These are exciting times in media psychology—a field whose time is here.  We have the pieces and now is the time to put them together.

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