Director, Media Psychology Research Center
Faculty, Fielding Graduate University
Instructor, UC Irvine Extension
Author, Positively Media on Psychology Today
I am a media psychologist. I look at the intersection between human behavior and technology. This includes the complex system of human motivation to achieve personal and social needs and goals reflected by design and use. It creates a roadmap for how we approach the development of technology in the future. I am passionate about helping people and organizations use psychology to create strategies for the digital world as producers, consumers and connectors. By integrating the ancient art of story with emerging research in cognition, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and positive psychology, you can identify potential in the environment and find opportunities to achieve your personal, educational, and business goals.
In the evolving digital landscape, success as individuals and organizations depends on our ability to recognize potential and adapt within a complex, interactive system. Human motivation drives behavior no matter what the technology. Understanding human dynamics allows us to visualize and realize new outcomes–whether it’s personal change or educational or product innovation. When we anticipate how fundamental motivations and goals drive cultural shifts and social trends, we can position ourselves to make change work to our advantage and tap the system’s power to meet our own goals.
A researcher, academic, and entrepreneur, I consult on a variety of media projects. I provide assessments and guidance to individuals and organizations drawing on over 30 years of experience from my diverse background in media communications and visual design, business strategy, and psychology. The topics currently on my mind are the ways in which technology and connectivity influence individual and group agency, expectation shifts about how the world works, the fundamentals of storytelling and narrative in message interpretation and identifying the audience needs and motivations that drive behavior such as consumption and technology use. 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.
In addition to media evaluation and research, I offer workshops and presentations on transmedia storytelling for marketing and branding, story-based content marketing, and audience segmentation through persona development. I am on the faculty at Fielding Graduate University in the Media Psychology program, 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 Social Media and Emerging Technologies, Narrative Media, Social Media and Audience Profiling, and Marketing and Branding through Transmedia Storytelling.
I began my career as founder of Brown Design, a communications firm specializing in identity development programs and recruiting materials for organizations and educational institutions. I 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 dealing with parenting and lifestyle issues. I hold 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 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.