We are surrounded by media all the time, whether it is advertisements on tv, computer games, or magazines. A new field of psychology, therefore, emerged to learn what impact this has on individuals and society, and, inversely, what impact we are having on the changing face of the media. Media psychology is the study of media usage patterns and functions (use), how media content is perceived and interpreted (reception), responses to and (un-)desired consequences of media exposure (effects).
Media-centered research deals exclusively with the content itself, assessing quota of certain content types (e.g., displays of violence in a "standard TV week") with quantitative methods, but also the meaning and symbols of media content for society, usually with qualitative methods.
User-centered research looks at how people use different media types, and functions they fulfill (e.g., escapism). It also deals with positive and negative consequences of media consumption, such as learning, or aggressiveness. Especially media effects research is mostly based on laboratory experiments, or large-scale correlational studies.
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