Q&A with Director of the Media Psychology Research Center, Pamela Rutledge PhD, MBA

OnlinePsychologyDegrees.com interviews media psychologist, Dr. Pamela Rutledge. Pamela is the director of the Media Psychology Research Center and the cofounder of A Think Lab. She also teaches media psychology, psychology of website design, psychology of social media and more at Fielding Graduate University, UCLA Extension and UC Irvine Extension. Rutledge examines the experience and meaning of social media and transmedia storytelling from a foundation in cognitive and positive psychology. Below she talks about what media psychology is and how students can become involved in the field.

Q: What is your current position?

I am a cofounder of something called Think Lab. And I'm also adjunct faculty at Fielding Graduate University in the doctoral and master's Psychology of Media programs. I also teach at UC Irvine Extension and UCLA Extension. I teach media psychology, social media, social media and audience profiling and transmedia storytelling.

Q: What is media psychology?

A lot of people would disagree about what media psychology is. For my purposes, I define it very broadly. For me, media psychology is using psychology as a lens to look at the intersection of people and media technologies. We have this go-to idea that media is mass media, but, in fact, people have been using technology to communicate - mediated communications - ever since they learned how to paint on caves. Media is really a vehicle that we use for communication, whether it's a pen and paper or a text message on a Blackberry.

Q: Can you explain transmedia storytelling?

Transmedia storytelling is really just saying, from a high-level view, that the world has changed - there aren't borders anymore between different technologies or between producers and consumers. [Short Code Error: type value must be either online or ground] area of specialization like teens or depressive disorders. You have to sort of decide for yourself.

Q: What do you see for the future of media psychology?

I think psychology is going to be recognized as being fundamental in this whole arena. I guarantee you that communications, media, anthropology, and sociology programs are all going to start bringing in some ideas from psychology. I think there's going to be a real premium for people who understand the combination of psychology and technology.

Q: How can students start getting involved in media psychology?

Use social media to listen to conversations. Follow Twitter hashtags; there are a lot of hashtags on psychology, transmedia, and variations of those. See if there's a conversation that intrigues you. Find out who's writing about what you're really interested in, and send them an email. I get emails from students all the time, and I think that's really cool.

Q: Any other recommendations for aspiring media psychologists?

Because media psychology is a new field, there are really a lot of opportunities to carve your own place in it. In that sense, it's exciting. Keep in mind that psychology is really behind everything that you do. Taking psychology (and maybe accounting), even if it's not your major, is really useful.