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PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age

This page was last modified on January 18, 2023

Paris, France in the 1830s

Boulevard du Temple
by Louis Daguerre (1838)

What is remarkable about the photograph below which was taken 185 years ago?

Boulevard du Temple

Paris      First Human Enlarged     First Human Enlarged Child

Selfie with Pope Francis
by Fabio M. Ragona, August 29, 2013, via Twitter
Pope Selfie

  • How did it come to this? LOL!

  • Should Pope Francis have allowed himself to be included in a "selfie" with a group of young adults in the middle of St. Peter's Basilica?
  • What about the picture? Is it disrespectful? Does it somehow demean or make the pope less important?
  • Should the photographer (Fabio Ragona) have sold the photo for profit? If not, why not? If so, why?
  • What makes a photo like that possible?

1991 February • Presidents' Birthday Sale at Radio Shack

(Original link @ TrendingBuffalo)

2021• Galaxy Smartphone S216 & iPhone 12 (& iPhone 12 PRO)

1991 Radio Shack ad          Galaxy S21 Phone       iPhone 12

1991 Advertisement
  •     All weather personal stereo, $11.88
  •     AM/FM clock radio, $13.88
  •     In-Ear Stereo Phones, $7.88
  •     Microthin calculator, $4.88
  •     Tandy 100 TL/3 computer (games, word-processing), $1599.00
  •     VMS Camcorder (video recording), $799.00
  •     Mobile cellular telephone, $199.00
  •     Mobile CB, $49.95
  •     20-memory speed-dial phone, $29.95
  •     Deluxe portable CD player (80 min. music), $159.95
  •     10-channel desktop scanner, $99.95
  •     Easiest-to-use phone answerer (voice mail), $49.95
  •     Handheld cassette tape recorder, $29.95
  •     Phone Book, no cost.

Total Cost = $3,054.82

Equivalent in Dec 2022 to $6,725.97*

*data from USInflationCalculator.com

All of the features of the equipment in the 1991 advertisement can be found in the 3 "smartphones" below"

Galaxy S21 5G

  • $33.33/mo x 24 mo. (total = $800) + Plan from Verizon
iPhone 12
  • $26.67/mo x 30 mo. (total = $800) + Plan from ATT
  • $799 from Apple

iPhone 12 PRO

  • $36.67/mo x 30 mo. (total = $1,100) + Plan from ATT
  • $999 from Apple

Adjusting for inflation, the cost of smartphones today is roughly only 12% to 15% of what it would have cost in 1991 to purchase the equivalent pieces of equipment.

What does this fact tell you about media?


Digital Media <========> Psychology

The questions I am asking this semester include the following...

General Foundations
  • According to psychology, how can we understand what it means to be a "human person" and why are media important for persons like ourselves?
  • According to media ecology, what do we actually mean by "media"?
  • What are the central features of media and, most centrally, why do media function as part of an ecological system?, that is,
    what is "media ecology" as a general framework to explain the impact of media?
  • What do students actually do online and “in real life” (IRL) using digital media
  • How are media studied by researchers: media effects, media as ecology, etc.?
  • What are behavioral addictions and are they real? Do the users of contemporary digital media experience significant and destructive forms of a behavioral addiction to that media, e.g., cell phones, social media, gaming online?

The Major Topics (student presented topics in red)
  • Celebrities, Fandoms, and Audiences: How We Relate to Media Personalities*
  • Consumer Behavior: How Online Media Influence Buyers and Help Sell Products*
  • Disinhibition Online: Cyberbullying, Trolling, and Self-Revelation*
  • Ethnicity and Difference: How Media Shape Our Perceptions of One Another in a Diverse and Multiracial Society*
  • Fake News? Propaganda, Politics, and Media Manipulation*
  • Neuropsychology of Contemporary Media
  • Privacy & Surveillance: Is Technology Intruding in Our Lives Too Much?*
  • The Psychology of the Walt Disney Company
  • Social Media and Mental Health
  • Sexuality Online
  • Violence in the Media: Traditional vs. Online Media*

What do you need to do before our next class on Monday?

Read through the Syllabus

Look over the course schedule of assignments and readings
  • Textbook plus multiple readings available online or distributed by me.
  • You will be responsible for the readings in class discussions as well as on quizzes and the test
  • We will use a lot of the time which has no specific topic listed for discussions.
There are two (2) forms that I will be sending you by email by tomorrow night. Download them and follow the instructions below or on the form.
  • Group Topic Choice Form. The 7 topics in red above will be the responsibility of students to gather research and present. Look over these topics and give me a listing of your preferences from 1st to 7th of what you might like to work on. This is due by Monday, Jan 30. Follow the same general instructions about returning it to me either by email after scanning it into a pdf format or by campus/post mail to me here at Le Moyne.
  • The Media Then and Now. This will contain the instructions for the first major project of the semester, that is, interviewing an older person about the world and media when they were in high school or college and a reflection on how their lives and yours are both the same and different. The report and reflection will be due on Monday, February 13
On Monday, Jan 30 I will distribute one (1) form in class:
  • Informed Consent Form: Because we will be dealing with some materials involving sexuality and violent behaviors, I require that students fill out an "informed consent" form. Follow the instructions about returning this to me. I should receive this form back from you no later than Wed, Feb 01.

Go to Part II of class

This page was first posted on 1/21/14