Bernard J. Luskin, Ed.D., LMFT

The Media Psychology Effect

Space: Media Psychology’s New Frontier

Four frontiers in media psychology

Posted Sep 25, 2012

                      Luskin's Learning Psychology Series - No. 30

Increasing effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings are revealing new knowledge about inner space, including the brain and the nature of behavior. Simultaneously, nanotechnology and galactic space exploration are providing new knowledge about behavior in outer space.  This encompasses studying “the media psychology effect” through the exploration of new frontiers.

Four Frontiers and the Study of Media Psychology Effects

I interviewed two leading attorneys about the emerging field of space law. Michael Singer, Esq. is a partner in a law firm specializing in space law. Robert Lutz, Esq. is a respected professor of internationall law at Southwestern University School of Law.

Michael Singer told me that his grandfather and uncle were founders of SEGA, the renowned entertainment game company, and that he grew up with electronic games and Sega. Singer believes that entertainment media stimulates and challenges the imagination increasing the enthusiasm and vision of space technology innovators. The military also extensively studies the psychology of media- centric games. Robert Lutz helped refine the conversation by pointing out that domestic law, international law, maritime law, and space law overlap but also break new ground. This is explained in the Venn diagram figure above. Each frontier has its own unique features in law and human behavior. Each of the areas overlap but go beyond the other, providing the study of media effects with a framework within which the future of media, publishing. and extraterrestrial communication are evolving.

 Space law includes property rights, mining rights, multimedia entertainment, travel and tourism, intellectual property including copyright, trademarks, and patents. It frames how each affects specific areas of media such as e-communications, film, telecommunications, telemedicine, telehealth, telepsychology and other variations. “The University of Mississippi Law School now offers the first ‘Certificate in Space Law’ and also publishes the Journal of Space Law twice each year. The University of Nebraska and McGeorge University of the Pacific also have space law forums,” Singer said.

Singer and Lutz agreed that as the tort field of space law is rapidly growing along with the millions of dollars of satellite damage due to negligently placed space debris that continues to collide, efforts to communicate in space increase and previously fantacized galactic functioning becomes a reality. There will be hundreds of new inventions and thousands of new patents making their way to the U.S. patent office. Lawyers have begun debating a myriad of issues related to ownership rights on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Meanwhile, legislators argue whether operators of tourism space travel should be exempt from liability, like ski lift operators, as everyday citizens dream of owning a piece of a planet or a star. Simply stated, media psychology and technology are central to our world of the future.

Examples of early players include Conrad Hilton who, before his passing in 1969, announced his own plans for a hotel on the moon and charged the Hilton family to continue to work to fulfill his dream. Elon Musk from Space X, who recently launched a private rocket with a payload that docked with the Mirs space station. Entrepreneur Richard Branson, who formed the Virgin Group of more than 400 companies, is building a spaceport in New Mexico and a spaceship called the “Enterprise” that plans to take off, explore space and return to earth. Google also has announced plans to launch space telescopes as Google’s first venture into mining asteroids. Opal pioneer Kenneth Helfand recently told me that he looks forward to the ability to start mining research on the moon. In short, Singer says that many of us “are ready to begin a trek to the stars.” He believes that Google users will soon be space spotting as part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program, in partnership with major universities and lone home enthusiasts interested in experimenting with outer space communications.

Singer described his Universe Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), dedicated to the exploration and colonization of outer space. UBC has developed a proprietary communication system allowing users to send messages to space in search of response. He said that “by applying the psychological fundamentals of game entertainment media, UBC gives everyone the chance to be a space explorer and participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. “In the near future, UBC plans to broadcast entertainment, higher education, legal and media training programs in new forms of publishing. The study of media psychology and technology will be a major area of interest to all of us who will become active in space communications,” Singer explained.

 Areas identified for the study of media psychology effects during the interviews are:

Social Networking

• Education

• Promotional Transmissions; marketing, advertising, sales

• Video Games

• Publishing

• Telehealth

• Mining

• Military and Security Applications

• Entertainment Programming, and

• New product development

Space law encompasses national and international law governing activities in outer space and overlaps with maritime law. International lawyers have not yet agreed on a uniform definition of the term "outer space,” although most lawyers agree that outer space generally begins at the lowest altitude above sea level at which objects can orbit the Earth, approximately 100 km (60 mi).

“Historically, the inception of the field of space law began with the launch of the world's first artificial satellite by the Soviet Union in October 1957. Sputnik 1 was launched as part of the International Geophysical Year. Since 1957 space law has evolved gaining increasing importance as mankind has come to discover and use space-based resources,” explained Robert Lutz.

Geostationary orbit allocation

Satellites in geostationary orbit must all occupy a single ring above the equator, approximately 35,800 km into space. There is a necessary requirement to sufficiently separate these satellites. There are a limited number of orbital "slots," for transponders available. Therefore, in practice there are a finite number of satellites that can be placed in geostationary orbit.

When I was CEO of Jones Interactive, Inc., a company of Jones International, Inc., headed by legendary cable mogul Glenn Jones, we operated four satellite transponders on a satellite in geostationary orbit. Using our transponders we managed a series of commercial and educational satellite cable networks including Jones Education Networks, Mind Extension University, a pioneering education network and the (PIN) Product Information Network, a pioneering network that broke new ground in the format and use of infomercials. Each of the Jones networks coupled the emerging technology with the psychology of their applications from education to product sales and was an important vehicle for our study of media effects in order to increasingly understand how and why people responded as they did.

Our Future in Space

When commercial space transportation becomes widely available because of substantially lower costs and better technology, countries worldwide will increasingly engage. More and more commercial development will occur as a result of increasing media applications propelled by private and public interests.

The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs

The United Nations has now established the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs as part of the United Nations Secretariat. It is located at the United Nations Office in Vienna as a symbol acknowledging importance of space as an area of world interest.

Progress in space will trigger discussions about the freedom of exploration, liability for damage caused by space objects, the safety and rescue of spacecraft and astronauts, arms control issues, the prevention of harmful interference with space activities and the environment, the notification and registration of space activities, new globalization in entertainment and education, new rules for publishing and media communications, new types of entertainment programming, scientific investigation and the exploitation of natural resources in outer space and other yet unidentified areas that will ultimately become in our field of media studies.

The study of extraterrestrial media must include the study of the media psychology effect because all of the areas described relate to our increased understanding of why and how people behave.

The media psychology effect and behavior in space is a new frontier.


Dr. Bernard Luskin is president of Moorpark College. He received the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to Media Psychology and is President (2014) of the "Society for Media Psychology and Technology," the Media Psychology Division (46) of The American Psychological Association.

Michael Singer, Esq., President of Universe Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), former Sega board member and entertainment executive specializing in the development of video games.

Robert Lutz, Esq., Professor of International Law at Southwestern University School of Law and former chair or the American Bar Association committee on international law.

Dr. Toni Luskin, Professor of Media Psychology, syndicated tv field producer, host of New Media News and former “Eye in the Sky” pilot.

Kenneth Helfand, Australian Opal Miner

Matteo Indelicato: Space Shuttle Photo


About the Author

Dr. Bernard Luskin is the CEO of and has been the CEO of eight colleges and universities.

More Posts