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Essay on Media Psychology

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By frizzby
Words 8480
Pages 34
Copyright © 2005 Stuart Fischoff. All rights reserved.


Media Psychology: A Personal Essay in Definition and Purview by Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D.

The subject matter of media psychology is a mother lode of material that psychology has actively mined for decades, but only within the last ten to fifteen years has the enterprise emerged as a distinct and explicit subdivision of psychology. Media psychology found its inspirational roots more than 90 years ago within the discipline of social psychology and in the early work of social psychologist Hugo Münsterberg concerning the psychology and the psychological impact of film. Published in 1916 under the title, The Photoplay: A Psychological Study, it was the first empirical study of an audience reacting to a film. Münsterberg also provided such a keen analysis of a screenplay's (then called a photoplay) grammar of visual construction and nascent cinematic conventions and their psychological impact on the audience, that his incisive words still echo today in numerous film school lecture halls and classroom seminars. And there was psychologist L.L. Thurstone, arguably the Father of Attitude Scale Construction and Measurement (a signature area of theory and research in social psychology), who developed scales for the measurement of attitudes toward movies for the famous and notoriously politicized Payne Fund Research in 1928. This study’s practically avowed purpose was to indict (not investigate) the medium of film as a source of inspiration of bad behavior in a youthful audience. Few psychologists, however, followed Münsterberg and Thurstone into the thicket of entertainment media influences and effects. It was not until the advent and market penetration of television in the 1950s coupled with concerns about unconscious influences of advertising, in all its forms and venues, that the attention and media...

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