As president of the American Psychological Association’s Division 46-Society for Media Psychology and Technology, Jerri Lynn Hogg, PhD, now takes on the role as program director of media psychology at Fielding Graduate University.
Dr. Hogg stepped right into her new role with ease. Coming from years of grounded experience in both academic and professional settings, her teaching experience at a variety of post-secondary organizations, along with her numerous years of involvement in the media psychology program at Fielding, Dr. Hogg is poised and ready to drive media psychology further into the educational forefront of the 21st century. Dr. Hogg's vision of the future of media psychology as a disciple was clearly outlined during her interview for the position of director:
The future of media psychology is impacted by the psychological foundations which form the building blocks of this discipline. These building blocks are what separate us from big media studies departments and other educational areas that hover in the same research space as media psychology. Media psychology is a broad umbrella-based psychology that is grounded in psychology, and also engages theories and research from a variety of other fields that study media and technology.
At Fielding, I believe that we are at a place where we have the opportunity to do something special, to influence peoples’ lives in important and meaningful ways. From understanding how mobile applications can best be used to encourage fitness, or stimulate happiness and mental well-being to create powerful advocacy campaigns and disaster relief efforts, such as the one most recently implemented by the Red Cross app that facilitated donations for the relief efforts in Nepal; we can learn about, demonstrate and research, how emergent technologies are enhancing our lives in powerful ways. By studying the psychological components engaged when we connect with media and technology we can inform better design and application.
For example, we can apply theory to emergent technologies to create and further define dynamic learning environments, use augmented and virtual reality to find new ways to understand and view the world, create delivery models that are media rich in presence, yet can cross geographical and time boundaries, and we can construct media that facilitates socially responsible advocacy for the betterment of humanity. With the ability to connect in more meaningful ways, collaborate cross-boundaries and cultures, share knowledge by making information more readily available and understandable, media psychology is a force for motivation, well-being, and good.
In her newest role as program director, Dr. Hogg continues to affirm the direction she sees the program going and why Fielding is the place for this vision. "It is my goal to continue to foster an energetic research center in media psychology which includes a collaborative learning space and a think-tank environment that provides businesses, organizations, nonprofits, and foundations a place to seek advice, consult, and research the intersection of human behavior and media and technology," stated Dr. Hogg. "My vision for the media psychology program within Fielding is to continue to establish the culture and identity of the program with administration, admissions and marketing, and the university in general, so we can best advertise, promote and attract students who are interested in media psychology...We are best aligned for positive outcomes, and impact, that includes strong student learning and ground breaking research, when there is a good fit. It is the story, the vision, and the cohesive message that allows not only the potential to understand who we are, but creates the vision of what we commit to as a program, a program that embraces the breadth of the field of media psychology in a foundational manner and offers specializations as our core niche. Current proposed certificates in neuroscience, brand psychology, and immersive media are a good start in this direction."
One of Dr. Hogg's areas of interest as a media psychologist is to look at virtual and augmented environments to see how people can bring a sense of presence to these environments - to make it feel as real as when we share physical presence. She frequently speaks on psychological components and influences of media and technology on human behavior and she continues to uncover new areas for research and understanding.
Dr. Hogg began her career studying engineering and then made the unusual jump to journalism and communications. While it might not have made sense at the time to make this transition, it fueled her interest in the science and the technology behind how people are driven to connect and communicate. To this day, she continues to examine a variety of interests, which are primarily based around how media influences people's lives, relationships, and humans make meaning out of life in a highly digitized world. Her passion continues to remain in the ways people connect and make meaning in digital environments. As Dr. Hogg continues her studies as a researcher and as a graduate of the media psychology program at Fielding, she would like to give back to her university and the field she proudly represents.