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Psychology in Communication Processes

Jeremy N. Bailenson and Nick Yee


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Psychology is generally concerned with studying the mind, the brain, and human behavior. While popular media often focus on clinical psychology (the study and treatment of mental illness), there are many other forms of psychology, ranging from neuropsychology to cultural psychology to sports psychology. This entry largely focuses on experimental psychology, an overarching branch that includes all areas of psychology in which researchers manipulate variables in order to perform empirical tests of how people think and behave (→  Experimental Design ). Examples of experimental psychology areas include cognitive, cultural, developmental, perceptual, and social psychology, all of which hold implications for communication research (→  Cognitive Science ). The framework of human cognitive architecture is helpful in discussing how different types of thought, as well as the corresponding areas of psychology, relate to each other along a continuum, and how this continuum, in turn, relates to communication processes. Alan Newell (1990) , in his landmark text Unified theories of cognition , established a hierarchical structure that is based on the processing time which goes into organizing different types of human behaviors. At the very bottom level, taking fractions of seconds, are biological events, such as neurons firing. These biological events combine into cognitive actions , such as ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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