Essentials of Media Psychology


Course Objective

After successful completion of this course, students are expected to be
able to:
• Articulate the core themes in the field of Media Psychology;
• Describe and evaluate the main theories of Media Psychology;
• Discuss and compare key findings in fundamental areas of Media
Psychology such as selective media use, message processing, and media
effects from media violence, media reality, sexual content and
pornography, media and child development, the role of emotions in media
processing, virtual worlds, video gaming, and the future of new media
and communication technology;
• Apply a critical-reflective attitude about up-to-date and
interdisciplinary scientific research in the field in an area of their
• Apply a media psychological approach to their own media use, and
interpret their media use in terms of media psychological theories.

Course Content

Media Psychology is on the rise as a relatively new research field,
although a number of research efforts bridging psychology and media
effects research have existed for some time. Media Psychology today
focuses on individual differences and psychological mechanisms
underlying media effects and media use in general, thereby including the
selection of particular content, differences in perceptions and
experiences that underlie differences in effects. This course addresses
both traditional mass media (TV, film) and new media (VR, internet,
video games), on the one hand discussing a continuous line of theorizing
and on the other hand discussing differences between the two and new
approaches. This unique course will focus on essentials of Media
Psychology and discuss core lines of research and compare key findings
in fundamental areas of Media Psychology: Selective media use, message
processing and learning from media, media violence, media addiction, the
role of emotions in media processing, media reality, media
psycho(physio)logy, morality issues and media, interactive media and
digital gaming, media and psychological well-being, and the future of
new media and communication technology.
Within these lines of research, questions that will be addressed are,
among others: Is there a need for a distinct field of media psychology?
What is the debate on media violence? How do media affect individuals’
brains, bodies, and behaviors, and who is most susceptible to these
effects? How do we know the differences between fiction and reality as
represented in media fare? How can new media and communication
technology contribute to the well-being of individuals and society at
large? What media psychological theories can be built on when designing
and adapting new technologies, and how can we use them to harness our
fascination with media in positive ways?

Teaching Methods

Lectures and workgroups.

Method of Assessment

Individual digital examination (60%) and short, individual- and
group-based graded assignments (40% in total).


A selection of chapters from recent books and a selection of specific
journal articles will available via online databases.

Target Audience

Master students in Communication, Media, Psychology, Pedagogy
(Pediatrics), Education, HCI, CMC, and others.

Additional Information

This is an English-language course (including assessments and
assignments). Foreign exchange students are especially welcomed to join
this class. This course is obligatory for master students who are
following the track Media Psychology at FSW-VU.

Custom Course Registration

In this course you can not enroll yourself for the tutorials, but you will be assigned by the course coordinator. At the latest in the first week of the course you will find to which tutorial you are assigned in your personal schedule in VUnet. Note: You do have to register for the course, with the corresponding parts!

General Information

Course Code S_EMP
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. E.A. Konijn
Examiner prof. dr. E.A. Konijn
Teaching Staff
prof. dr. E.A. Konijn
dr. K.E. Balint

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Study Group*, Lecture

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: