The Media Psychology Program is directed at understanding the influence of the mass media on individual and group human behavior and on individuals’ minds. We investigate how the mass media affect individuals’ thinking, emotions, and behaviors and how these in turn shape the experiences that individuals have with the mass media.
Faculty research interests are wide-ranging with regard to media we study (TV, movies, videogames, social networking, "new" media, print, and more) and with regard to outcomes of interest, including aggression, health behavior, eating behavior, self and identity (including body image, race, gender, sexuality), and well-being. The program is interdisciplinary, blending theory and research in communication studies and social, cognitive, biological, and developmental psychology. The program is particularly strong in two subspecialties within media psychology:
- Health and the Media: Research in this area analyzes the role of the media in promoting or undermining healthy behaviors, attitudes, and self-images as well as which kinds of health messages and campaigns are most persuasive and effective
- Media Violence and Aggressive Behavior: Studies both the short-term and long terms effects of exposure to violent media fare in films, on television and in video games and other new media.