Fielding Graduate University

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Santa Barbara, California 93105
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Media Psychology Programs

Fielding’s Media Psychology programs enable students to enter at their qualification, readiness and goal levels. The PhD in Media Psychology program provides a research-based program that informs practice in an evolving field of study. The Masters of Arts in Media Psychology is 100% online, applies psychological science to media and technology landscapes. The 3-course Certificate in Media Psychology program is also 100% online, and offers emphases in Media Neuroscience and Brand Psychology & Audience Engagement.

Learn More: Media Psychology


A Mixed-Methods, Media-Enhanced Investigation of Public Response to Geo-Political Events and Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks seek to manipulate social attitudes and behaviors on a population-wide scale, and are recognized as a serious threat to national security. Malicious actors may exploit existing fears through intentional use of dis-information tactics to encourage moral panic, distrust in public institutions, or radicalized social behaviors. Why individuals may be susceptible to social engineering is not fully understood. Our inductive, mixed methods, includes guided observations of public response and topical narratives in popular media, and integration of psychoanalytically-informed, targeted, first-person interviews, to discover common themes through content analysis. We use platform developer tools and automated data extraction techniques, collect a subset of social media data for natural language analysis, and develop qualitative scoring frameworks, to determine a time-dependent assessment of social climate for a target population. Using this method, public response to specific messaging and associated geo-political events is studied to develop interventions that promote resilience to destabilizing influence. We will discuss examples from our recent research related to the specific topic of moral panic and social injustice, and the utility of our methodology for furthering our understanding of psycho-socio-cultural phenomena impacting the geo-political environment.

Courtney Crooks, PhD

Courtney Crooks, PhD

Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute

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