Media psychology is the psychological study of the causes and consequences of humans’ media use. Research within media psychology seeks to understand and explain the roles, uses, processes, and effects of mediated communication. It is interdisciplinary in nature and draws from a number of disciplines including political science, marketing, sociology, communication, public opinion, consumer behavior, and social, developmental, and personality psychology.
Dar Meshi investigates how our brains process socially communicated information. He earned his B.S. in biology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in New York. After his Ph.D., Dar spent some time in New York working at advertising agencies like Ogilvy and Mather.
Ralf Schmälzle, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. He is uniquely cross-trained in communication and psychology as well as in cognitive neuroscience. His research focuses on brain responses to real-life messages in the domains of health communication and entertainment media.
Ron Tamborini (Ph.D., Indiana University) is the Director of Doctoral Studies and a Professor in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University where he teaches courses in media process and methods of communication inquiry.
The Theoretical and Applied Research on Media Affect and Cognition (TARMAC) lab is a state of the art media psychology lab featuring four separate areas including: a welcome room, a room with 12 computers for web-based and reaction-time studies, a “living-room” area for television and video game research, and a virtual reality and gaming area with four computers equipped with eye-tracking and Oculus Rift headgear
Current studies include research on virtual reality and entertainment, games and violence, the social appeal of movies, and the role of motivation in media appeal.
The Center for Avatar Research and Immersive Social Media Applications is focused on the interdisciplinary study of the effect of virtual reality experiences on human interaction.
Media and Advertising Psychology Lab is focused on the study of media and advertising using biopsychological approaches, methods and theories.
Media Psychology is one of a number of thematic, collaborative research interest areas in ComArtSci. Although graduate students apply to one of the three doctoral areas or any masters areas in the college, they may become research collaborators in any of the interest areas. For example, students specializing in advertising, communication, and journalism participate in the Media Psychology interest group.