Faculty member co-edits book about media, social life

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Penn State faculty member has co-edited a book that examines how media intersect with the social lives of people in three broad areas: media and the self, media and relationships, and social life in emerging media.

“Media and Social Life” (2014, Routledge) highlights cutting-edge scholarship from preeminent scholars in media psychology. The 240-page book -- co-edited by distinguished professor Mary Beth Oliver, a member of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, and Arthur A. Raney of Florida State University -- examines how media touches on all aspects of people’s social lives.

Because of the pervasive nature of media -- touching on friendships, parent-child relationships, emotional lives, social stereotypes and even relationships with media characters -- how people understand themselves and others is largely dependent on how they perceive themselves and others in media. That includes how they interact with one another through mediated channels, and how they share, construct and understand social issues via their mediated lives.

The scholars in the volume provide insightful and up-to-date examinations of theories and research that inform the current understanding of the role of media in people’s social lives. They also detail provocative and valuable roadmaps that will form that basis of future scholarship in the important and rapidly evolving media landscape.

Oliver’s research in media effects focuses on entertainment psychology and on social cognition. Her recent publications on these topics have appeared in the Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research and Communication Research, among others. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Media Psychology.

Last Updated May 12, 2014