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Media Psychology Blog

Posted: March 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Critical thinking across multiple modalities


Transmedia literacy implies engaging critically in nonlinear narratives of all kinds, from entertainment and branding to journalism.  We build mental models unconsciously, to create a holistic understanding.  In entertainment, we revel in narratives of choice–we can actively pursue and evaluate content based on enjoyment, relevance, and identity.  Many other narratives are more subtle, news, commercial and social stories can be equally immersive and persuasive without our awareness.  Transmedia literacy emphasizes the need for mindful attention to the narrative construction that create larger ideaworlds in our off and online environments.

Americans are doing the most mundane everyday task online, particularly on their smartphones, and this growing habit of avoiding the spoken word has become the new luxury in our lives.


Headlines like this prime the reader to think of technology as replacing valuable interpersonal connections.  It also triggers an implicit assumption that how we used to do something–our current schema– is somehow the ‘right’ way or morally superior.  If we equate this to electric saws versus manual saws, it seems ridiculous. We know there are times when an electric saw is overkill for the task at hand.  We don’t give people enough credit to know the difference between using technology to avoid standing in line to deposit a check or waiting on hold to make a dinner reservation and talking to their best friend.  Instead of focusing on fears of lost interpersonal relationships, we should focus on setting goals and making intentional choices how to use our recaptured time–whether it’s to improve our productivity at work or to squeak out a little time for mindfulness meditation.  The danger is, as it has always been, procrastination.  I don’t need Facebook to procrastinate.  I have a zillion other tools that have stood me in good stead for years.  Now I just have to reorganize my bookshelf before I finish writing that chapter….

Startup brand Slate Cosmetics looks to overcome its lack of store presence with virtual sampling.


Makes perfect sense that companies should focus on the actual user of the product.  (This isn’t about “selfies” — jeez.)  As someone who teaches online in a distributed program, I see this as a move toward empowering a broader market and letting consumers control their experience.  Think Self-Determination Theory – autonomy and mastery (I expect they will figure out how to include psychological relatedness as they roll out the social media features.)

Email isn’t for complex ideas or strong feelings, says Sherry Turkle, director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self


It’s your reptilian brain that sends those emotional emails where your only defense was “I wasn’t thinking.”  Yes you were, but with your instinctive emotional brain not the rational one.  Repair means engaging your neocortex– the thoughtful and logical part of the brain that can think through the implications and  actively empathize with the other person’s situation.  Groveling is the equivalent of your dog exposing his underbelly to show you his vulnerability after behaving badly.  When you ‘attack’ someone, you have triggered an instinctive response in them–fight or flight.  Groveling diffuses that response by sending the message in instinct-based brain language.  #neuroleadership

Article By Jonathan Tavss How exciting was it when the Dodgers were so hot at the end of the season to head into the MLB Post Season? For many in Los Angeles, just the thought that they will actual…


In a great blog, Jonathan Tavss highlights the importance of giving fans the opportunity to form emotional attachments with players (what psychologists would call a parasocial relationship).  Fans have team loyalty, sure, but as Jonathan points out, Dodgers missed opportunities to deliver the real glue that sticks fans to a team by building a web of emotional attachment.  Knowing the stories gives us a reason to care.

It was 4 p.m. on a Sunday and I had just arrived in Las Vegas.


@TuxedoLasVegas Tuxedo Junction has been in LV much longer than @Zappos but this story is exactly what Hsieh calls delivering WOW thru service.  No double standard here – owner Mikka Moon sets the example for her employees by delivering on the front line.