About Dr. Rutledge

Director, Media Psychology Research Center
Faculty, Fielding Graduate University, Media Psychology
Instructor and Advisory Board Member, UC Irvine Extension
Blogger, Psychology Today

Rutledge_1_headshotI am a media psychologist.  I study the impact and experience of media–the place where media and technology meet.  I am passionate about helping individuals, organizations and society at large apply the principles of psychology for positive change. Social change comes at all levels. Media technologies are powerful tools that can be used to support individual growth, improve organizational effectiveness, develop brand image, influence elections and initiate profound social impact. By understanding human behavior at a deeper level, you can identify potential in the environment and find opportunities to achieve your personal, educational, and business goals.

Media psychology is the perfect culmination of my career path. It allows me to synthesize my previous experience in graphic design, brand and corporate identity development, business strategy and clinical psychology. In media psychology, my focus is on the integration of positive psychology and narrative informed by emerging understandings in perception, cognition and neuroscience. These tools guide the interpretation and anticipation of human behavior, no matter what the technology, in order to forecast trends, identify potential, subvert problems and find opportunities to achieve personal, educational, business and social goals.

As a researcher and academic, I am interested in how media and technology influence–and are influenced by–our identity and sense of empowerment. Some of my recent projects involved the impact of technology use on individual agency, the influence of information flows on cooperation and conflict between nations, the influence of fan communities and narratives on identity, and the impact of technological literacy on self-image. As a mother of six, I have a keen interest in issues related to children, adolescents and media literacy.

I have published both popular and academic work and am currently co-authoring the text Exploring Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Well-Being with Dr. Erik Gregory. As a consultant, I advise on a variety of media projects, such as KCET’s website developed for Sid the Science Kid and the Legends of Orkney literacy project. I also work with companies and brands to identify their value-based core stories.

In addition to media evaluation and research, I give presentations on transmedia storytelling for marketing and branding, story-based content marketing, and audience segmentation through persona development. I am faculty at Fielding Graduate University in the Media Psychology program, and an instructor and advisory board member for UC Irvine Extension School of Business and Law’s Internet and social media marketing certificate program.  I design courses related to social technologies, brand psychology, audience engagement strategies and storytelling.  Currently, I am teaching Audience Engagement through Persona DevelopmentBrand Psychology and Transmedia Storytelling, and Foundations of Media Psychology.

I began my career as founder of Brown Design, a communications firm specializing in identity development programs and recruiting materials for organizations and educational institutions.  I was the recipient of several awards for creativity and innovation in magazine design. I am also trained as a therapist and have experience in clinical settings dealing with parenting and lifestyle issues.  I hold a BA from Pomona College, an MBA from the Drucker School of Business at Claremont Graduate University, and a MA and PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Media from Fielding Graduate University.

I author a blog for Psychology Today.com called “Positively Media”, and am Editor-in-Chief of the Media Psychology Review academic journal. In addition, I am pleased to be a frequent expert source and balancing positive voice for the mass media on media and technology use, social media and popular culture.  I am quoted frequently internationally, among them NY Times, The UK Guardian, Seventeen Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, CAPRICHO, Good Morning AmericaABCnews.com, Korrespondent, Men’s Health, Toronto Sun,  and USAToday.

Pam can be reached at prutledge@mprcenter.org or on Twitter at @pamelarutledge and @mediapsychology