chapter  11
Postscript to a psychology of the image
Pages 6

Some years ago, when I was involved in proposing a final-year or advanced undergraduate university course entitled ‘psychology of the image’ one or two colleagues voiced reservations about the nature of such a module, commenting, ‘there doesn’t seem to be much psychology in this course’. Part and parcel of the business of academic life involves defining and maintaining discipline boundaries and thus I was not particularly surprised by this response. Nevertheless, I felt it represented the somewhat contained view the discipline of psychology has regarding the nature of images. For many psychologists, the study of the image, or rather ‘imagery’, involves research into a particular kind of cognitive mental activity, a process as difficult to understand as the early stages of visual processing. Apart from a few social psychologists who recognise the significance of the image for personal and social identity, the term image is of such ambiguity and indeterminacy that whatever it might mean, its study probably belongs to the realm of communication and media studies.