I recently located an old .pub file from my email, which I used during my undergraduate psychology degree at Kamala Nehru College. It brought back so many memories. I was only an editor along with my coeditor Deblina Das who’s working in Sydney, living the dream and pursuing psychology at the same time. Who knew it was possible? But that's obviously her story to tell which I’m sure would be so very inspiring for so many psychology students struggling in their careers. It has been to me.
I wrote a piece for the magazine which I thought I could share. Tell me what you think of it? It's a college paper so I hope you’ll be kind.
So here it is
When we think of psychology we mostly think of mental health areas or corporate setup but in the real world, principles of psychology are used in various applied fields. Media has in this century been used as an influencing variable with the power to change the minds of millions and with the power to also educate the millions who view it but what is media psychology?
Unfortunately, the answer is not an easy one. It’s a field with no consensus definition, no clearly-defined career paths, and no easy answers. Despite that, it can add value anywhere human behavior intersects media technologies. Psychology is the key to understanding technology and its impact. There is an inter-linkage between media and psychology in today's globalized world view.
Media plays a major role in influencing society and its rigid practices as is seen in popular television shows like Satyamev Jayate which have gone on to discuss various regressive activities like discrimination and rape. Media has also had the charge of propagating certain regressive practices by airing politically motivated news articles on channels and influencing the people's perception on sensitive issues like voting and polling. We need media psychology because media has the scope to reach a large audience that doesn’t necessarily understand the volatility of certain content.
These media technologies that we are exposed to today are changing the way we look at things our choices, decisions, and thoughts. I think that media psychology has the power of helping people to deal with the rapid advancements in today’s day and age, to hold writers, journalists, scriptwriters accountable for their work, and make sure people understand the content that is provided to them. What is truly sad is how our stereotypes and prejudices can often stem from regressive media articles.
The perfect body type is often shown in the media and often propagated to obscene lengths. Political parties are said to own stakes in the media industry which leads to an even more dangerous conclusion. That media needs to be supervised and people need to be informed about the truth and to mitigate any kind of damage media can cause.
Another important aspect of media is advertisements that we see on print media, on the television, radio, and elsewhere. Stereotypes are reinforced and myths mystified. Fairness ads show us how having darker skin makes you unsuccessful and fairer skin does the opposite.
Advertisements also tell us how sexist we can be. Insurance ads have always shown a man who ensures that his family has insurance because what would his family do without him, even when in one particular ad the two men are seen discussing getting insurance the women are shown in the background completely unaware and chatting amongst one another.
Such regressive ads in these times sound absurd and uncalled for but yes, various other ads are taking the Indian media by storm some like the Tanishq Remarriage Ad (the beautiful women are shown with a little girl who is later revealed as her mother and the taboo of remarriage is quashed) others like the scooty ads that show women in control or men doing household chores is seen as a small step ahead. Most of the research that we would consider to be media psychology focuses on mass media and for a good reason. Mass media was a game-changer, bringing information, images, and culture to a broader segment of society and the world.
Media psychology is seen as the intersection of human experience and media.
Basically, media psychology is the applied study of what happens when people interact with media as producers, distributors, and consumers through the lens of psychology. Although it remains to be seen whether it can gain momentum as an applied behavioral science because.
Media will continue to use elements of psychology to understand the market and give them what they want or what the producers wish to sell! In fact, the same would be true for so many other businesses.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. I wrote this when I was still in undergrad,things have obviously changed more but basic human instincts are something we all possess. In what ways would you disagree. Also, the examples seem dated. Newer ads or the use of media for the benefit of society is worth mentioning. Nothing in this world is black and white there are ao many shades in between that we need to explore.