Director, Media Psychology Research Center
Academic Consultant, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Adjunct Faculty, Fielding Graduate University
Instructor, UC Irvine Extension and UCLA Extension
Blogger, Psychology Today
I am a media psychologist, someone who looks at the intersection of human behavior and technology, where interaction becomes experience. I am passionate about helping people and organizations understand the way communication and media technologies change culture, psychology, and behavior. By understanding human behavior at a deeper level, we can identify potential in the environment, our strengths and find opportunities to more successfully achieve our personal and business goals. All things—from business and media to interpersonal relationships–are interactive systems where change in one part impacts the rest.
In the evolving communication landscape, success as individuals and organizations depends on our ability to recognize and make sense out of the environment and to identify qualitative change. Our ability to visualize and to articulate a future path or story allows us to realize new outcomes. Our ability to anticipate cultural shifts and social trends allows us to adapt our vision to make change work to our advantage to meet our goals.
A researcher, academic, and entrepreneur, I have provided assessments and guidance to individuals and organizations for over 25 years drawing on a diverse background in media communications and visual design, business strategy, and the psychology of cognition, attitudes, persuasion, and perception. My current research and applied interest is identifying the ways in which technology and connectivity influence individual and group agency and expectations about how the world works, the fundamentals of storytelling and narrative in message and communication interpretation, the development of creativity through design-based thinking, and shifting audience psychologies as a result of social media technologies on individual and group communication, attention, expectations, interaction, consumption, and social norms. Recent projects involved the impact of technology use on individual agency, the influence of information flows on cooperation and conflict between nations, the influence of fan communities and narratives on individual cognition, and the impact of technological literacy on self-image.
I am Director of the Media Psychology Research Center, a nonprofit dedicated to research, assessment and development of media technologies based on positive and cognitive psychologies. MPRC’s mission is to bridge the gap between research and practice by integrating research into the media development process. Some of our clients include KCET, Fablevision, and Children’s Hospital, Boston.
As adjunct faculty at Fielding Graduate University in the Media Psychology program, an instructor at UCLA Extension, and an instructor and advisory board member for UC Irvine Extension School of Business and Law’s Internet and social media marketing certificate program, I teach Media Psychology and Social Change, Social Media and Emerging Technologies, The Psychology of Website Design, Social Media and Audience Profiling, and Transmedia Marketing through Storytelling.
I received a BA from Pomona College, an MBA from the Drucker School of Business at Claremont Graduate University, and a MA and PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Media from Fielding Graduate University.
I began my career as founder of Brown Design, a communications firm specializing in identity development programs and media production for financial and educational institutions and was the recipient of several awards for creativity and innovation in magazine design. I am also trained as a therapist and have experience in clinical settings.
I also author a blog for Psychology Today.com called “Positively Media”, and am Editor-in-Chief of the Media Psychology Review academic journal. In addition, I am pleased to be a frequent expert source for the media on media psychology and social media issues. I am quoted frequently in the national mass media, among them NY Times, The UK Guardian, Seventeen Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Good Morning America, ABCnews.com, Daily Finance, Toronto Sun, Education Week, and USAToday.
I can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @pamelarutledge and @mediapsychology
Defining Media Psychology and Transmedia Storytelling (video interview)