The field known as “media effects” has both changed and remained the same. Some means of inquiry and topics of study persist in their command of the attention of scholars in this area whereas others represent new directions. This chapter reviews the status of media use around the globe, then discusses both changes and continuities in the field over time. One major change is the shift toward “media psychology,” as reflected in the title of this volume. Finally, this introduction reveals the logic used in the organization of the volume and a chapter-by-chapter review of the topics covered within, thereby serving as a detailed roadmap for the reader.
There has never been a more fascinating time to study the role of the media in the lives of people young and old. Individuals are faced with a dizzying array of choices and many media consumption levels are at an all-time high. In the United States, for instance, adult men and women are estimated to watch television about five hours per day whereas kids aged 8 to 18 watch about three-and-a-half hours per day, both figures reflecting an increase of about 30 minutes daily since the data were collected 10 years prior (Nielsen, 2010). Similarly, Eurodata TV Worldwide recorded an increase in television viewing of 28 minutes per day between 1995 and 2005 among the 30 countries from which it gathers data, setting an average daily exposure ...