Public Education and Media Relations in Psychology

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Abstract

This article reviews psychology’s attempts to influence public attitudes about both the science and the profession of psychology. The early history of the profession is reviewed, and the efforts of the American Psychological Association (APA) to shape the public’s perception of psychology are discussed. The rise of social media is reviewed, and important social media outlets relevant to psychology are identified. The activities of the Society for Media Psychology and Technology (APA Division 46) are illustrated, and the presidents of the Division are identified. The work of those psychologists who are noted public intellectuals or who have received Nobel prizes or National Medal of Science awards for their research is briefly reviewed, and the public notoriety of 4 prominent media celebrities (Joy Browne, Joyce Brothers, Laura Schlessinger, and Phil McGraw) is discussed. Several controversies in the field of psychology that have influenced the public and their attitudes about psychology are also briefly reviewed.

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