Why I study...media psychology

David Giles.
I KNOW it’s customary, and perhaps clichéd, to start off these ‘Why I study’ articles with an autobiographical anecdote, but I can indeed vividly recall the moment I decided to return to academia to study psychology. As an English graduate and freelance music journalist, I found myself near Zurich doing a feature on a dreadful British group (one of whose members used to be in Kajagoogoo, which gives you some idea of the scale of awfulness we’re dealing with here). It was teatime before their performance, and – as happens with most substellar groups on tour – the three band members were dining backstage with their road crew, assorted press bods, and representatives from their record company. Throughout the meal the whole company was focused on the three band members, who were playing the rock star role to perfection, cracking unfunny jokes that had the entourage in stitches, and delighting in the fact that all these lackeys were hanging on their every word. What a weird situation this is, I was thinking – three talentless idiots fêted as though they were sages and philosophers, while all the really clever people – engineers, backing musicians, critics and photographers – sat wondering what they had to do to deserve such acclaim.

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