Dr. Bernie Luskin founded the very first media psychology doctoral program in the United States (and possibly even the whole world) at Fielding Graduate University. In his time at Fielding, I’ll bet I heard Bernie say “media psychology is a field whose time has come” at least a hundred times. And he was right, because an announcement of Bernie’s APA Lifetime Achievement Award, including a photo of Bernie flanked by several former students and media psychology PhDs (including me!) made it onto PRNewswire display on Times Square. I mean, really, how cool is that?
Even without Times Square, the field of media psychology is definitely a field whose time has come. Media psychology is responding to the awareness that technology and mediated communication are inseparable from almost every aspect of our lives. Media psychology is also exciting because it is continually changing, challenging scholars and practitioners to evaluate and understand what is happening in the “space between” humans and media technologies. Mediated communication across any medium is about the relationship between the sender and receiver. It is not a static, unidirectional connection, but one that is continually reacting, responding, and changing. Media psychology is the lens that looks at the experiential, cognitive and social implications of that exchange. It is central to solutions in both the messaging and technology development for marketing, organizational communication, education, and entertainment.
There are few people who have devoted as much of their careers to formally integrating psychology with media technologies as Bernie. It was in honor of that commitment that the Media Psychology Division (46) of the APA presented Bernie with the lifetime achievement award at the annual convention in Washington DC this month. (Hence the announcement in the PRNewswire release.) It was an honor to be one of the first official media psychology PhDs, thanks to Bernie’s foresight and determination in getting the program up and running. And it was a lovely moment to be at APA with my colleagues to watch him receive the award!