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Immersed in

Media, Art & 

Joshua James Smith, M.S.


Joshua James
Smith, M.S.

Smith & Something

Adobe Education Exchange

American Psychological Association 
Division 46: Media, Psychology and Technology.

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)

Digital Sociology Lab

The Institute for Digital Media and Child Development

International Communication Association

Public Relations Society of America



Immersed in media, art and text. 

I began my journey into a PhD program unsure about a particular direction for my research. I knew that I loved the ideas swirling around the future of mass communication, like AI, the Metaverse, virtual and augmented realities. I also knew that I love learning, exploring ideas and thinking critically about the way that dreams of the future and narratives of the past converge to make the present moment we're living in. Staying ahead of the curve is a skillset. You have to actively work to be an early adopter, which means being plugged into the special place where ideas become a reality. For me the process of earning a PhD is a recipe for making yourself a thought leader on a precise and nuanced topic. I began the program in 2020 with an openness to explore.


Embarking on the final stages of my scholarly journey I now have a pinpoint, the size of a speck, on an otherwise large canvas. Following a curiosity for psychology, I took classes in developmental psychology and psychopathology. You can't just take a few classes in psych and call yourself Freud. I knew that, but what I wanted and what I gained was a lexicon of terms that explain deep concepts of the human condition. In my development studies I learned about Ecological Systems Theory, and later that same theory would lead me to an overlap with media: The techno-subsystem of Ecological Systems. Eurika! A bridge between two works, one of media and one of psychology.


Later, in a course about kinetic art, I realized that the way people create and incorporate art into their lives is highly personal. Without art, the technology we interface with daily would be miserable. Steve Jobs knew that. The intersection of what a company like Apple does with technology, making it pretty, absolutely impacts the relationship with have with machines. Those machines are getting smarter, and starting to look and act more like humans. I thought about examples from scholarship about kids, media devices and how those relationships shape identity, personality, and value systems. 


Once I could see the intersectionality of these fields I realized I had found my area of study, my dissertation topic, and road forward. I leaned into media literacy and Joined the American Psychological Association's Division 46 on media, psychology and technology. I joined the Institute for Kids and Technology, and I leaned forward into digital media and it's future. 


After completing a focused study on Media Literacy, I found Media Psychology. Another familiar scholarly face immersed: Uses and Gratifications Theory. That took me farther into the literature to a whole field of study on digital media psychology where I found overlaps with mixed reality applications for acceptance and commitment therapy. Finally, and most recently I reached the farthest foci of my journey, the realm of cyberpsychology. This is the latest area of exploration for the topics that interest me most. This is also a newer field, with publications starting in the late 20th century, and most importantly, it's still being defined. The future of cyberpsychology lends itself to hypotheses in online identity formation, ethical and moral considerations for technology development, virtual and mixed realities, and the intersection of human-machine interaction.

The Analytical Engine has no pretensions to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.Only when computers originate things should they be believed to have minds.

Ada Lovelace

Speaking Engagements
& Media

I'd be happy to join you on your podcast! Or as a guest on your SM channel. Your membership meeting is a great place for me to plug in my slides and start warming up the room. I treat live events like TedTalks. I can't help it. If your group is looking to listen and learn, please feel free to contact me. I have spoke to organizations, the public service sector, small non-profits, in classrooms, and I even did a little social media how-to for newly elected senators once with my colleagues. 

& Lectures

​Courses I've taught most often:

  • MASC 101 - Mass Communications

  • MASC 210 - Public Relations

  • MASC 333 - PR Writing 

  • MASC 334 - Visual Communication & Design 

  • MASC 335 - Multimedia Production 

  • MASC 426 - Influencer Relations

  • MASC 491 - Special Topics 

  • MASC 682 - Media Mechanics 

  • MASC 683 - Strat PR Global Environment - Study Abroad (Vietnam)

  • MASC 694 - Capstone 


My Teaching Philosophy:

I’m a high-energy instructor who likes to bring fun, excitement and applicability to learning. My student evaluations will consistently demonstrate that students see my passion for the course subject and for teaching. I value the information shared from student to student, and student to professor. I create teachable moments in and out of the classroom and take pride in lectures and assignments that help prepare students for careers in the communication industry. I try to keep my class as forward focused and true to the industry as possible by keeping us with current practices in the industry, and encouraging my students to do the same. In public relations and integrated communication, much of what we deliberate in the classroom is subject to public opinion, individual subjectivity and is sometimes rooted in controversy. Proffering such content comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities when coupled with the passionate political, social and independent views of today’s student. My approach to teaching methods are rooted in traditional lectures, robust discussions, relevant assignments and thought-provoking reflections. Keeping my topics current and relevant, and listening to the student’s feedback creates my pillars of teaching success. 

Sample Works from MATX

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Poe + Numbers: A descriptive analysis of numbers used in works by Edgar Allan Poe. 

The way in which Edgar Allan Poe used numbers in his writing, approach to writing, and understanding of the writing process may relate to the era in which he wrote. It may relate to a newer philosophy that through numbers and words the universe can be understood. It could also indicate that merely the process of using numbers in writing creates a more rational, immersive appeal to the logos of readers. All could be true.

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The Flip Side: Unearthing meaning in The Flip Side related to the possibilities of American anti-southern and Anti-slavery propaganda with implications for point of origin.

Located in the archives of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, in Williamsburg Virginia, in the Folk Art Museum Collection is an artifact whose origins and intentions are unknown. As an oil on canvas, the artifact is stretch to “20 ⅞” x 16” unframed, and the primary support is painted on both sides.”

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Analysis of emoji use, meaning and sentiment as a microculture language of computer mediated communication in sexually explicit media on Twitter circa 2022 

Emojis (Japanese for “picture word”) are a well-known and accepted form of communication across many digital platforms. The evolution of the emoji is derived from the emoticon, a simple set of keyboard shortcuts used to convey an expression or sentiment. The first emoticon, a simple smile [ :) ] dates back to 1982, and the earliest days of computer mediated communication.

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The sum of its parts: A case for the standardization of Internet Addiction criteria as a continuum of pathological internet use with consideration for sub categorizations.

Research around the use and overuse of the internet is decades old, yet to date there are no current classifications adopted by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD) for diagnosing addiction to the internet. (Sayili et al., 2022) The latest and most direct reference to the internet as a source of diagnosable harm comes from Pathological Internet Use (PIU) related to Gaming Disorder now included in the ICD-11 and a more specific Internet Gaming Disorder in the DSM-5 (Sayili et al., 2022).


What’s in a name: The collected controversy over schizoaffective disorder

The term “acute schizoaffective psychosis” (now schizoaffective disorder) first appeared in 1933 as the nomenclature used by Jacob Kasanin to denote what he observed as the symptoms of schizophrenia and affective disorders (now “Mood Disorders”) which appeared to occur at the same time and which he would later classify as a subtype of dementia precox where patients achieved full recovery after several weeks. (Abrams et al., 2008, p.1090; Heckers, 2009, p.332; Vollmer-Larsen et al., 2006, p.403)

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The role of screen time on kids from within the COVID-19 cohort.

The aim of this study is to advance current research on screen time use and behavior relationships in children (aged 0-4 years) through the COVID-19 cohort of 2018 - 2022. Information from this study will provide caregiver observations of their child’s cognitive, social and emotional development and related individual child screen time use and shared screen time use (co-viewing). Using an online sample of caregivers recruited through Mechanical Turk multi person survey platform, questions about technology use and behavior will be collected and analyzed to unearth any possible relationships between screen use and behavior. 

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Does personality type affect the ways in which people interact with political expression on and off Twitter?

In 2017 research by Zuniga, et al. examined the intersection of personality traits and social media use in 20 countries with respondents (N=21,314) labeled by the Big Five Personality Traits, and unearthed that there was “consistent relationship between people's personality traits and the way they use social media.” (Zuniga et al., 2017, 542) Specifically they note that when different kinds of personality traits are examined, (introversion to extroversion) “extraversion is a consistent predictor of informational and social uses of social media.” (Zuniga et al., 2017, 545)


Factors establishing a parental philosophy for screen media use among children.

Research related to children and screen media use continues to be an important area of study for media scholars, psychologists, pediatricians, educators, and parents. These studies unearth the positive and the negative outcomes of device use on physical, mental and social well-being set against an evolving media landscape. These outcomes are of considerable importance to parents who wish to provide a consistent philosophy for regulating and managing their child’s screen media habits.


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You can't just say, "I'm going to write about this.." that's not how it works. Before you can even begin writing your dissertation you have to get the approval of your committee. This is called defending your prospectus. It's basically a pitch that they all have to agree on. They agree because you provide them with enough scholarly evidence to say "hey, there's something new and exciting here and I think I can tell that story." That said, I will defend my prospectus in May of 2024. While I still have two more classes in the doctoral program, I will use my time to refine and expand a single idea into a scope of work that takes no less than a year to write. 

If you asked me now, what will I focus on and I had to mash words together to answer, this is what I'd say. As a Gemini I reserve the right to have two opinions of everything. 

"The Intersection of Media, Psychology, and Technology: Exploring the Role of Media Literacy in Shaping Digital Identities"

This dissertation could delve into the impact of media literacy on the formation of digital identities, exploring how individuals interact, perceive, and construct identities in virtual environments influenced by technological advancements.

"Cyberpsychology: Unraveling the Dynamics of Human-Machine Interaction in Mixed Realities"

Focusing on the emerging field of cyberpsychology, this topic could involve an investigation into the psychological implications of human interaction with advanced technologies like virtual and mixed realities. It could explore areas such as online identity formation, ethical considerations, and the psychological impact of these interactions.

Development is never an isolated event; it is the product of interacting and mutually influencing factors operating on multiple levels.

Urie Bronfenbrenner

& Biblio


Dimsdale. (2021). Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media. Yale University Press.

Dill-Shackleford. (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology. Oxford University Press.

Giles. (2003). Media Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. ISBN: 1-135-64052-1

Nesi, Telzer, E. H., & Prinstein, M. J. (2022). Handbook of Adolescent Digital Media Use and Mental Health (Nesi, E. H. Telzer, & M. J. Prinstein, Eds.). Cambridge University Press.



Davou. (2020). A Challenge for Media Psychology and Technology. Psychology: The Journal of the Hellenic Psychological Society, 23(2), 86–.

Kim SK, Wi DS, Kim KM. Effect of Media Exposure on Social Development in Children. Global Pediatric Health. 2023;10:2333794X231159224-2333794X231159224. doi:10.1177/2333794X231159224

Kourti, & Gazi, A. (2020). Media Psychology and Technology: Introduction. Psychology: The Journal of the Hellenic Psychological Society, 23(2).

Montazami A, Pearson HA, Dubé AK, Kacmaz G, Wen R, Alam SS. Why This App? How Parents Choose Good Educational Apps from App Stores. British Journal of Educational Technology. 2022;53(6):1766-1792. doi:10.1111/bjet.13213

Olpin E, Hanson CL, Crandall A. Influence of Social Media Uses and Gratifications on Family Health Among U.S. Parents: A Cross-Sectional Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023;20(3):1910-. doi:10.3390/ijerph20031910

Oliver, Raney, A. A., Bartsch, A., Janicke-Bowles, S., Appel, M., & Dale, K. (2021). Model of Inspiring Media. Journal of Media Psychology, 33(4), 191–201.

Poels, Rudnicki, K., & Vandebosch, H. (2022). The Media Psychology of Boredom and Mobile Media Use: Theoretical and Methodological Innovations. Journal of Media Psychology, 34(2), 113–125.

Schreurs, & Vandenbosch, L. (2022). The Development and Validation of Measurement Instruments to Address Interactions with Positive Social Media Content. Media Psychology, 25(2), 262–289.

Sundqvist A, Koch FS, Birberg Thornberg U, Barr R, Heimann M. Growing Up in a Digital World - Digital Media and the Association With the Child’s Language Development at Two Years of Age. Frontiers in Psychology. 2021;12:569920-569920. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.569920

Vaterlaus JM, Winter M. TikTok: An Exploratory Study of Young Adults’ Uses and Gratifications. The Social Science Journal (Fort Collins). 2021;ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print):1-20. doi:10.1080/03623319.2021.1969882

Wiradhany, & Koerts, J. (2021). Everyday Functioning-Related Cognitive Correlates of Media Multitasking: A Mini Meta-Analysis. Media Psychology, 24(2), 276–303.

Wright, Paul, B., & Herbenick, D. (2021). Preliminary Insights from a U.S. Probability Sample on Adolescents’ Pornography Exposure, Media Psychology, and Sexual Aggression. Journal of Health Communication, 26(1), 39–46.

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