About Pam Rutledge

Pamela Rutledge, PhD, is a scholar-practitioner, integrating her expertise in media psychology with 20+ years as a media producer. A member of the faculty at Fielding Graduate University since 2008, Dr. Rutledge teaches in the areas of brand psychology, audience engagement and narrative meaning. Dr. Rutledge consults with entertainment companies, such as 20th Century Fox Films and Warner Bros., on data strategies and audience narratives. Dr. Rutledge has published both academic and popular work, including a text on positive psychology and psychological appeal for fans of the Twilight Saga and resilience in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She has also written book chapters on meaning-making and fandom, transmedia narrative engagement, and positive media psychology. She authors “Positively Media” for Psychology Today and is also a frequent expert source on media use and popular culture for media outlets such as The NY Times, The BBC World and ABC News. She holds a PhD and an MBA.

Depp v. Heard: Why Depp Won the Battle of Archetypes

2022-06-06T09:59:00-07:00

Many fans redeemed Depp as a tarnished hero and cast Heard as the evil Medusa. Key points Archetypal patterns quickly cast Depp and Heard’s roles. Already condemned by cancel culture, Depp chose to challenge Heard publicly. The trial underscored how pervasive gender stereotypes influence perceptions of behavior. Johnny Depp has emerged as the victor in the infamous Depp vs. Heard trial. Many Depp fans are ecstatic, their commitment to Depp gratified by an official ruling. Heard fans are disappointed but primarily because of the potential fallout on the issue of domestic abuse. Advocates worry that the #MeToo movement has suffered [...]

Depp v. Heard: Why Depp Won the Battle of Archetypes2022-06-06T09:59:00-07:00

Why “Good Vibes Only” Creates Bad Vibes

2022-05-31T09:37:22-07:00

Toxic positivity is positive thinking at its worst KEY POINTS Kids are drawn to apps where they can connect easily with friends without being spied on by parents. Social media apps are designed to be psychologically engaging. It’s what makes them fun and hard to put down. Social media use can be positive and negative. How you use it matters. Critical thinking skills and open communication at home can keep kids safe while having fun online. Tired of “good vibes only” on social media? There’s always value in a positive outlook, but when it’s “only,” it becomes toxic. Toxic [...]

Why “Good Vibes Only” Creates Bad Vibes2022-05-31T09:37:22-07:00

Depp vs. Heard: Can Justice Prevail Amid Toxic Stans and Memes?

2022-05-05T22:35:44-07:00

Trial by social media, with irreparable consequences. On April 11, 2022, the courtroom drama of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began and their tumultuous, extravagant, and mutually-abusive relationship played out across traditional and social media. However ugly the testimony, though, it's nothing compared to what is happening on social media. The public testimonies are fueling much meaner ones on social media, where stans (stalkers-plus-fans) have taken to platforms with unbelievable vitriol, ranging from insults to death threats. Johnny Depp has always had a lot of enthusiastic fans—even with all the controversy that has followed him. His Instagram account has [...]

Depp vs. Heard: Can Justice Prevail Amid Toxic Stans and Memes?2022-05-05T22:35:44-07:00

What Parents Want to Know About Snapchat and Kids

2022-05-04T21:24:41-07:00

Q&A: Critical thinking skills and open communication can keep kids safe online. KEY POINTS Kids are drawn to apps where they can connect easily with friends without being spied on by parents. Social media apps are designed to be psychologically engaging. It’s what makes them fun and hard to put down. Social media use can be positive and negative. How you use it matters. Critical thinking skills and open communication at home can keep kids safe while having fun online. The questions I hear from parents show deep concerns about kids and social media use — especially post-pandemic. Snapchat [...]

What Parents Want to Know About Snapchat and Kids2022-05-04T21:24:41-07:00

How Memes and Media Are Crafting the Way We See War

2022-04-01T22:56:24-07:00

Social media aesthetics shape views and understanding of the Ukraine invasion. KEY POINTS Memes translate complex ideas into short-form cultural commentaries that construct social narratives. TikTok has taken over as the 'go-to' source for short-form content on the Ukraine invasion. Memes help humanize and simplify conflict, creating clear heroes and villains. Memes translate complex ideas into simple, easily digestible, emotionally evocative messages that draw on an existing cultural schema. Memes construct the narratives that frame events, as we see with the Ukraine Invasion and influence who is cast as the hero and villain, "like us," and "the other." Nowhere are [...]

How Memes and Media Are Crafting the Way We See War2022-04-01T22:56:24-07:00

Social Media: Think it over before taking a public stance

2022-03-04T19:21:57-08:00

Social media has changed the flow of information and public discourse, detaching it from geographic boundaries. Thanks to social media, almost everyone is exposed to events such as recent events in Eastern Europe, at least at a superficial level. There is, therefore, an increasing recognition of global events and how they might ripple out and impact individual worlds. After the pandemic, social unrest, and political challenges of the last few years, speaking up is a way to weigh in, and, thanks to the interactivity of social media, of being heard. The situation in Ukraine is a powder keg on a [...]

Social Media: Think it over before taking a public stance2022-03-04T19:21:57-08:00

Biotrackers: Good For Fitness, Bad for Mental Health?

2022-02-19T22:37:34-08:00

In a data-driven world, we look to biotrackers to improve our well-being. KEY POINTS Biotrackers combine sophisticated data-gathering technology with the long-standing drive for self-improvement. Data only helps if translated into useful, actionable information Biotrackers don't work for everyone but for most users, they improve accountability, motivation, and engagement Trackers are not one size fits all. Choosing the right approach to behavior change means figuring out what works best for you. Are you sporting an Apple Watch, FitBit, Oura Ring, or other smart wearables? If so, you're not alone. Many of us have been lured into the magical world [...]

Biotrackers: Good For Fitness, Bad for Mental Health?2022-02-19T22:37:34-08:00

Online Dating and Teens: Looking For Love in Digital Places

2022-02-10T18:48:28-08:00

Online Dating and Teens: Looking For Love in Digital Places KEY POINTS Interest in dating, intimacy and romantic love is a normal part of adolescence Increased use of social media during COVID has turned online dating into just plain 'dating' The joys and heartbreaks of virtual and online relationships can feel every bit as real as IRL The best way to keep online dating positive and safe is to focus on building healthy relationships and problem-solving skills If your teen is interested in mantic or physical relationships, they probably are already engaged in some form of online dating.  During [...]

Online Dating and Teens: Looking For Love in Digital Places2022-02-10T18:48:28-08:00

8 Ways to Help Your Kids Keep Online Dating Safe and Positive

2022-02-10T18:39:10-08:00

The rules of dating have changed. Are your kids ready? KEY POINTS Dating is a healthy part of teen development, and online dating is typical today. Having conversations early on can help keep kids safe as they date online and date offline. Parents should remain focused on healthy relationships and communication, not specific apps or devices. Valentine's Day may be around the corner. But dating and interest in romance, intimacy, and sex are normal parts of being a teen all year long. Online dating is the new normal, especially for kids locked up by COVID. While online dating has many benefits, it is not [...]

8 Ways to Help Your Kids Keep Online Dating Safe and Positive2022-02-10T18:39:10-08:00

Why We Mourn the Loss of TV Dad Bob Saget

2022-01-15T20:51:31-08:00

Parasocial relationships with TV dads create emotional connection and meaning. KEY POINTS TV dads are idealized versions of the fathers we’d all love to have. A parasocial relationship describes the one-sided emotional attachment we feel to real and fictional characters. Losing a loved character is experienced as the loss of a real connection; it leaves a hole. Parasocial relationships add to media enjoyment by increasing the immediate pleasure and creating a longer-term sense of meaning. Bob Saget was among the very best of TV dads. Like James Avery, John Ritter, Alan Thicke, and Tom Bosely, he raised his TV [...]

Why We Mourn the Loss of TV Dad Bob Saget2022-01-15T20:51:31-08:00
Go to Top