Navigating Media

From the ever-expanding Googleverse to the snarky payoff of celebrity gossip, life is splintered and refracted in a million ways by contemporary communication tools. The media has a profound impact on how we perceive ourselves and our world. The smart media user will learn to consume information judiciously and employ social networking tools to enhance one's goals and complement one's personality, rather than being drowned in the Internet's flood of information.

Recent Posts on Media

The Loneliness of Social Media, Part Three

Loneliness is neither inevitable nor inescapable. If you are willing to take a number of simple and practical actions you can overcome loneliness and create a meaningful and satisfying social life for yourself both in daily life and on social media.

Eating Disorders Online: Support or Triggers?

Much of the public learned about pro-ana and pro-mia websites from an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show back in 2001. When people go online for information and support about eating disorders, does what they find help or make them worse?

Making Social Media Work For You

By Thelma Duffey Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Works in Progress
Following a loss, social media can be a constant reminder of what other people seem to have in their lives. Take a few steps to proactively make social media work better for you.

Taking Egoism Out of Consumerism

In a two part series, we invite readers to find the egoism in their consumerism and push it aside to make room for solidarity and a new kind of consumer society rooted in sustainability--of healthy conditions in the world's workplaces, fun spaces, and ecosystems. In this column we look at how inward-looking consumerism offers no way out of our stress filled digital lives.

Why Do People Like Sad Songs?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in Hot Thought
The emotional impact of music does not come from imparting particular emotions, but rather from being emotionally engaging in general. So it does not matter whether a song is happy or sad, only whether it has an emotional impact on the listeners.

The Trouble With Facebook

We need Facebook etiquette rules.

Does Sex and Violence Really Sell Products?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Media Spotlight
The widespread belief that sex and violence will sell products helps explain why this kind of media programming is so popular. But is this really the case? A new review of fifty years of research studies into the effectiveness of sex and violence in advertisements suggests that advertisers need to rethink the kind of message they send.

Psych Write: Psychology Can Make Sense and Be Fun to Read!

Authors trying to write about psychology for general audiences may err by writing the same way they would write journal articles, or they may err by writing too casually. These tips can help students, psych pros, journalists, bloggers, and water cooler conversationalists achieve the right balance while clearly talking about psychology. Jargon is good. Really, it is.

News stories with the power of empathy

Depicting physical pain and discomfort may make for compelling journalism, but it also could undermine audiences' empathetic responses and perpetuate what neuroscientists call the 'empathy gap.' Instead, efforts to capture people's emotional suffering may be more likely to evoke empathy, even though that's much trickier for reporters trained to 'show, don't tell.'

Otome: What We Can Learn About Love from J-Romance Games

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on July 25, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Otome are romance simulation games, primarily for girls and women, initially made in Japan but now spreading worldwide. I was interviewed for the Bullet Train podcast as a psychiatrist to comment on what we can learn about love from otome. A lot, it turns out!

How Are You Portraying Yourself When Using Social Media?

By Gregg McBride on July 25, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
When did vitriol become a national pastime and filling our social media feeds with hatred become de rigeur? Has initially greeting someone we don't understand (or even that we don't agree with) with kindness become a thing of the past?

The Loneliness of Social Media, Part Two

Social media is not always very social. Understanding why not can help us understand what is lacking in our lives.

Who Makes a Qualified Children’s Media Researcher?

By Jamie Krenn Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 in Screen Time
Thoughts related to research training within the field of children's media.

The Loneliness of Social Media: Part One

You may have seen "the baby whisperer" photo that went viral. What it teaches us about life and loneliness in the digital age is fascinating.

My Experience as an Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Worker

I spent a week answering psychological surveys on MTurk. The result was a revelation and has changed how I now think about using MTurk as a researcher.

Mental Illness and Families: Realigning Laws & Science

As the mother of a 22-year old daughter diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, I have to scratch my head. With an 11-year old son who tried to commit suicide and later, as a teenager, reported hearing voices urging him to kill, Arlene and Robert had to have known James was ill and needed treatment.

The Psychology of Box Set Binging

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 in In Excess
Recent media stories have reported on the alleged negative effects of box-set bingeing (‘Watching TV box-set marathons is warning sign you're lonely and depressed - and will also make you fat’). But what do we know about box-set bingeing psychologically and is it really bad for our health?

Deceit On The Air: How to Tell When You’re Being Manipulated

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Time Out
Deceit on the Airwaves: How to Tell When You’re Being Manipulated By Politicians, and Other Talkers.

Is Social Media Harmful to Relationships? The Debate

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Love, Digitally
Do you argue with your partner as a result of Facebook use?

Hidden Persuaders: The Psychology of Subliminal Perception

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in A Sideways View
The idea of subliminal perception has never gone away. Are advertisers and marketers using clever and possibly illegal or immoral means to change our behaviour

Relentless Cultural Pressures for Today's Girls

The question remains: Are girls truly thriving as never before? The answer is both yes and no. Yes, girls certainly have unprecedented opportunities available to them. Yes, many are walking through open doors that were closed to previous generations. Yet an insidious pressure has crept in alongside these opportunities: To be a success, girls, you have to do it all...

Men Systemize. Women Empathize.

An important variable that we can use to differentiate between users is gender. Research has provided evidence that there are inherited differences between the cognitive style of men and women—in other words, the way men and women think, perceive, and remember information.

Toward a More Civil Divorce

By Liza Long on July 16, 2015 in The Accidental Advocate
In a high-conflict divorce, both adults share the blame. But the adversarial family court system doesn't do much to help parents or their children. My thoughts as a mother on the three Michigan children sent to juvenile detention for refusing lunch with their father: it's just lunch.

What Race Is Rachel Dolezal?

Rachel Dolezal says she is black, but many others--whites and blacks, liberals and conservatives--disagree. What race is she really? How should we react to her claim?

Screening Out Screen Time

We've become addicted to our screens, obsessively checking email, chomping at the Twitter feed, and buried in Facebook. The disquiet many of us feel turns to downright worry when we see our children growing up screen-saturated. Research suggests this may have serious consequences for development.

Wired Parent, Wired Child

When it comes to managing their kids' screen-time, parents are often blamed for being bad role models. But in practice, blaming and shaming doesn't work. Here's what does.

Is Fame Really Worth Risking Mental Health?

I would not have predicted the stranglehold it Reality TV would come to have on “entertainment” today. It wasn’t a bad notion to use TV to shed light on the human condition. However, as a PsyD and LCSW, I know that whenever human beings are pitted against each other in a public forum, it triggers instincts and unpredictable behavior in them.

Experiencing Art: It's Not Just for Art's Sake

Why do we look at art? What is its value??

Sticks, Stones and Video Games: Tools for Imaginary Play

As Andrea Bonier suggests, we need to get over our fears and let our kids play with sticks, jump in mud and climb trees. Getting over our anxieties of the digital world our kids need to learn to navigate is equally important.