Jeff Hancock: 2016 HCI + Design Workshop


Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Location: McCaw Hall, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Affordances and the Psychology of Social Media"



How can social media play a role in our psychological well-being? Much has been written about how various Internet activities are associated with depression, narcissism, or even addiction. Given the startling ubiquity of social media in many aspects of everyday life in our society, we take a closer look at how some affordances of social media can influence our emotional and mental state . I'll talk about several studies, including how Facebook can be self-affirming, how emotions can spread in a large-scale network experiment and how texting can alter our perceptions of pain, including reducing the amount of narcotics required during surgery. In contrast to studies that conclude that social media depresses us or makes us more narcissistic, I'll draw conclusions about some of the psychological mechanisms that can allow social media to activate psycho-social resources in our day-to-day lives. I'll also speak to some of the ethical issues associated with computational social science.


Jeff Hancock is a Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Professor Hancock works on understanding psychological and interpersonal processes in social media by using computational linguistics and behavioral experiments to examine deception and trust, emotional dynamics, intimacy and relationships, and social support. Professor Hancock also works on understanding the mental models people have about algorithms in social media, and more generally on the exciting opportunities and challenges of computational social science.