According to the nonprofit organization Media Psychology Research Center, professionals in the field of media psychology perform research on the effects of various types of media on human interactions and relationships. Pursuing a master’s degree in this psychological specialization can provide opportunities for students as researchers for advertising and media firms, as consultants in the corporate, political or entertainment fields or as educators and researchers in academic environments. Here are five of the most important topics of study in a master’s degree program in media psychology.
Social Marketing in the Global Environment
The international reach of Internet communication has revolutionized the way companies market their products and services. Social media sites and browser searches have had a major impact on the ways in which consumers interact with brands. Additionally, the information provided by crowd-sourced review sites is becoming ever more critical to success for retail industries. Students will be presented with a variety of different media types and asked to assess the uses of traditional and modern forms of communication, advertising and marketing. This coursework also delivers an overview of the technological aspects of online and mobile communications.
Propaganda, persuasion and the art and science of political campaigns and initiatives are covered in political psychology courses. Emerging technologies have had a real impact on political candidates and their campaigns. Social media sites have provided new arenas in which parties and candidates can test their ideas and build coalitions to pave the way to victory. Students will learn how to build a political narrative and agenda and will determine the best ways to present these ideas to the public. Political psychology coursework typically focuses on combining the best of traditional media venues with cutting-edge online strategies to create the desired results in the court of public opinion.
Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing
One of the fastest growing sectors of the marketing research industry, consumer neuroscience focuses directly on the effects of advertising on the brain. Most courses focus initially on the traditional methods of eliciting feedback from consumers regarding advertising and marketing strategies. After this background has been established, students will be presented with new and emerging research methods that include eye tracking, skin conductance, electroencephalogram and functional magnetic resonance imaging tests. These scientific strategies can deliver accurate and actionable information for advertisers and marketing professionals. A solid background in these testing methods can help students achieve success in the media psychology field.
Augmented reality and immersive media technologies are currently among the hottest topics in the field of advertising and marketing. Media psychology courses covering these advances typically offer insights into the total consumer experience, the emergence of advanced mobile technologies and the integration of social media, geographical locating software and entertainment options into the marketing field. Data visualizations, mobile applications and human interfaces are among the most important subjects covered in coursework on immersive technologies in the marketing industry. Some classes may also cover the gaming industry and the trend toward more immersive experiences for consumers in single-player and multi-player environments.
Online Education and Interactive Environments
The increasing availability of online learning options for students has created new opportunities for media psychologists. Designing intuitive interfaces that allow easy access to necessary information and that challenge students to interact and engage with the learning experience will require advanced skills and knowledge of cognitive development, technological trends and motivation in the academic setting. Students will also acquire a general working knowledge of the available technologies and the platforms used to create learning environments. The competencies acquired from these classes will generally prepare aspiring media psychologists for careers in the distance learning and online education industries.
Graduating from a master’s degree program in media psychology can prepare students for careers in the fields of marketing, education, scientific research and entertainment. By learning how modern technologies and proliferating media venues affect everyday life and learning, media psychologists can provide the guidance needed to navigate these new arenas successfully in nearly every field of endeavor.