How are communication technologies shaping culture and social development?

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet and mobile devices are changing the way we live, work, socialize, and grow. But how so? Opinions are often polarized; some see ICTs as a way to empower people with information and convenience, others are concerned about the potential deleterious effects on the development of social skills, attention, and self-regulation. Yet ICTs do not have unidirectional effects on human behavior because how we select, create, and interpret our experience with ICTs influence how they affect and create us. For this reason, I am particularly interested in understanding the role of ICTs in the lives of diverse youth, not only in the U.S., but also around the globe. ICTs afford particular opportunities for action, but they are also shaped by users’ own motivations, values, and cultural contexts. In addition, I take a balanced approach in my research, emphasizing both gains and losses in the changes that are occurring. 

I study the implications of ICTs for three main issues in social development during adolescence and the transition to adulthood: Gender & Sexuality, Identity & Values, and Social Connection. See my lab webpage and publications page for more information on each of these topics. 

The 2017-2018 school year marks my first year as an assistant professor of developmental psychology at UC Santa Cruz. I will be spending the year setting up the Culture and Tech Lab so if you are interested in collaborating, participating in research, or working with me as a graduate student, I would very much like to hear from you!