Psychology and the Media

Topics: Psychology, Cognition, Mass media Pages: 5 (1722 words) Published: October 7, 2013

The Image of Psychology through the Eyes of the Media

Psychology can be presented by the media in forms such as magazine or newspaper articles, and the most popular today is through commercials watched on TV. Psychology is presented in a form of science today compared to what it was viewed as in the late 1800s and onto the 1900s. It is more of a science nature because viewers have to think about the meaning of the article or commercial to understand the message that is being presented. Then, psychology was viewed as a form or common sense. Psychology was never really looked at as a science but rather as philosophy in the 1980s. The public was often confused with the subject of psychology because it was always changing. The media presents both social and cognitive psychology to the public. Psychologists are not exactly overrepresented today, but the media uses them to their advantage. In the 1800s and the 1900s, psychologists were underrepresented and not taken seriously until World War I when “pop” psychology was let out to the public. The public was made to believe that the war was won because of the psychologists’ work. The media definitely relies more on psychologists than self-proclaimed experts. Many articles in magazines are psychologist interviewed and psychologists even write their own articles for the public to view and respond back with questions. Today, the media presents psychological information in more of a sensationalistic manner. This is a way that the media can catch the reader’s attention. By catching their attention, the media tends to over exaggerate many stories to make them sound better or worse than the story truly is. Psychology is still a confusing subject to the public today and many may never understand the role that psychology plays in society. The approach that psychology is presented in today’s media can somewhat differ from the way it was presented in the late 1800s through the 1900s. The message that lies beneath the commercials will not always pop right out. I as a viewer have watched many commercials over the past couple weeks and I kept thinking to myself, what does this have to do with psychology? The more the viewer thinks about what the message is supposed to be, the harder it takes to come up with an answer. After awhile, I let my brain be able to process the commercial and allow it to trigger many thoughts, not just one. One of the very first commercials that I had watched was an invitation to Fairbanks, which is a rehab center. Many rehab centers will not flaunt alcohol in front of the ones who are trying to stop the abuse. The commercial started with slow music and ended with a glass of whiskey. Personally, I think that kind of commercial would trigger the want for alcohol rather than wanting to go to rehab. But, that’s the reverse psychology that comes into play. The abuser has to look past what is being presented and want to make a change in his or her life. The depressing music can show the abuser that his or her life may be depressing when turning to alcohol and a rehab may be their best “go-to.” The next commercial was for a violent video game. The video game views the world as a violent and scary place. Not all children take the games seriously but some can relate the games to reality. The psychology of the commercials are presented in a manner that hides the true meaning and leaves it up to the viewer to discover what is really trying to be put out there. I personally feel that today’s media presents psychology in a form of science by relating it to social and cognitive psychology, relies on psychologists for major information, and the media always has a way of over exaggerating the information that is being put out to the public. I personally feel that psychology in the media today is presented in more of a science nature rather than common sense. In the early 1900s, psychology was viewed more as a common sense. Today, the viewer’s have to...

References: Ludy, B. (1986). Why don 't they understand us? A history of psychology 's public image. American Psychologists, 41, 941-946.
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