One reason is that the frontiers of Media Psychology will continue to move as long as the intersection of media and human behavior continues to shift as well, powered by astounding technological innovation that actively stimulates new areas of human endeavor. One goal of this monograph, then, is to illustrate the range of topics that the media psychology discipline can encompass, as illustrated by the recent dissertation research of six media psychology alumni from Fielding Graduate University.
- Gordon Goodman’s study examines one medium of entertainment long ignored by psychologists, namely the stage. An accomplished actor and director in his own right, Dr. Goodman asked whether stage fright, popularly associated with young and inexperienced actors, continues to vex accomplished, veteran actors. Contrary to popular perception and some of the literature, his data showed no significant association between stage fright and age, years of experience, or even personality in actors.
- Jennifer Johnston’s article is a summary of her groundbreaking study on childhood exposure to pornography, a dominant genre in virtually all media, and the effects of such exposure on sexual satisfaction in adulthood. Remarkably, Dr. Johnson’s findings, which are based on a national sample of adult Americans, show that early exposure to pornography can increase sexual satisfaction when mediated by sexual experience—i.e., the number of lifetime sexual partners—but that this correlation is stronger for men than for women.
- Jonny White’s phenomenological inquiry addresses the realm of storytelling. Narrative psychology holds that the way we tell our self-story influences our life. It follows that a professional author’s incarnation of his self-story is perhaps an important root of that author’s creativity. Based on five in-depth interviews with accomplished authors of fiction, augmented by additional case study material, Dr. White concluded that authors benefit from stepping outside of their societal narrative conventions in order to develop new perspectives for storytelling.
- Bernadette Chitunya-Wilson’s study underscores the enduring power of one of our culture’s most important legacy media: television. Her inquiry probes the question of whether frequent viewing of reality TV shows involving cosmetic surgery actually fosters a desire among viewers to undergo cosmetic surgery themselves. Her results show that there is indeed a correlation between the consumption of such reality TV shows and the desire for cosmetic surgery, and that this link is mediated by self-esteem as a key variable.
- Alicia Vitagliano turns our attention to another legacy platform, namely, print journalism covering the field of professional sports. Given that the number of female sports journalists has grown in recent decades since the adoption of Title IX in 1972, she wonders whether a reader’s gender and internalized sexism would affect his or her views towards a sports article written by a female journalist.
- Ivone Umar examines the role of the Internet in an area largely overlooked by American scholars: the ability of students born in Latin America to integrate within an American college community in the United States. Using a sample of 104 Latin American students, Dr. Umar’s data show that the use of the Internet in the host language—English—was a positive factor in the acculturation process, whereas the use of the Internet in the student’s native language was correlated with a slower acculturation on an American English-speaking campus.
Published December 4, 2014