The Psychology of Technology Institute will award 3 dissertation award grants of $1,000 each and acknowledge 3 additional honorable mentions. This initiative is in line with the Psychology of Technology Institute’s mission of connecting and supporting scholars from multiple scientific disciplines who conduct research examining the factors that shape people's attitudes about new technologies, and how the adoption and use of these technologies are transforming how people live, work, play, and interact.


Applicants must be doctoral students in psychology, organizational behavior, communications, marketing, or a related field and in good standing with their university. Must be enrolled full-time (or working on their dissertation research for an equivalent of full-time enrollment regardless of actual registration status).

Applicants must have had their dissertation proposals approved by their dissertation committees prior to application.

The dissertation research may be in any area of psychology and technology; below we provide a non-exhaustive list of research questions that experts in the field think should be studied.

submission details

The due date for all materials is OCTOBER 1, 2018; decisions will be made by January 2019.

Submissions for this award will be accepted via email at beginning in August of 2018, and extending into the fall of 2018. Please include the following:

  • Abstract of the dissertation proposal, not more than 250 words, single-spaced (not including references)

  • Summary of the dissertation proposal, not more than 600 words, single-spaced (not including references)

  • Table or Figure (optional; no more than one)

  • Curriculum vitae including scientific publications, presentations, research and teaching experience

  • One letter of recommendation from the applicant’s academic advisor is required to complete the application process

    • The letter writer will submit his/her letter via email at and, in addition to the recommendation, must include the following in the letter:

1.     Confirmation that the applicant is in good standing in his or her program.

2.     Confirmation that the proposal has been approved by the applicant’s committee (or the equivalent designation for the Ph.D. program).

3.     Date by which the student is expected to complete the dissertation.

possible topics

Below is a non-exhaustive list of possible research questions identified by the Psychology of Technology Institute’s Founding Advisors (listed here: that doctoral students and others in the field may wish to tackle:


Nancy Rothbard, University of Pennsylvania

In general, how is technology changing the way we think about, feel, and behave at work?

More specifically, how does technology (e.g., online social media, mobile technology, connection technologies that enable virtual teaming) influence what we know about each other and how we react to each other at work? How does this influence both work relationships and productivity positively or negatively?

How is the pace of change affecting our ability to be productive and is it leading to engagement or burnout or both?


Dacher Keltner, U.C. Berkeley

Can the new social media and platforms be designed in ways to reduce loneliness?


Adam Alter, New York University

Do children who spend more social time on screens develop, socially, more slowly or otherwise differently from children who spend more social time in face-to-face interactions?


Batia Wiesenfield, New York University

How does technology shape our perceptions of ourselves and our mental representations (e.g., roles, boundaries, self-evaluation, perceived autonomy), our ability to self-regulate, our well-being in the short and long term, our motivations, and the emotions we feel and express? How does our psychology shape how technology develops, who adopts it and how readily? For example, how is artificial intelligence and algorithmic technologies shaped by iterative interactions with people and their biases? How does our trust or distrust influence the emergence and functioning of technologies such as blockchain?

How does technology shape who we develop relationships with, the strength and content of our relationships and how rewarding and self-definitional they are, how we utilize our relationships, and when and how our relationships dissolve? How does our relational psychology (e.g., identity, status, power) shape the technologies we use and how we use them?

How does technology influence the salience, importance of, and perceived conflict between our various collective identities and identifications (organizational, professional, familial, demographic, sexual, etc.), and which identities we form, reject, expose or suppress? The way we think and feel in groups? How do our collective identities shape technology-facilitated collectives, such as crowdfunding or social networks? 


Larry Rosen, Cal State University, Dominguez Hills

How does overuse of technology affect brain functioning and, in particular, how does cumulative, long-term overuse impact learning, memory, sleep, etc.?

How does excessive online communication impact face-to-face communication abilities among adults and, more importantly, among preteens and teens? 

How can we get a handle on exactly what aspects of technology use are negatively impacting our mental health?


Pamela Hinds, Stanford University

How is technology changing the nature of work?


Ethan Kross, University of Michigan

What are the psychological mechanisms that allow people to interact with online social networks in ways that optimize rather than undermine their well-being?


Don Moore, U.C. Berkeley

When are people willing to rely on the advice of artificially intelligent advisers, and when do they insist on the superiority of human judgment? Can artificial agents be conscious? Can they suffer?

What is the right policy to regulate the programming of autonomous vehicles?  (Here I am thinking of how they prioritize the lives of those inside vs. outside the vehicle, and how they treat omission vs. commission.)

How can we best protect people from being enfeebled by their reliance on technology?


Jeff Hancock, Stanford University

What is the relationship between technology use and well-being? This is a crucial topic for society, one that is already getting massive attention and needs good answers from great research.


Elizabeth Dunn, University of British Columbia

When and how can technology support--rather than undermine--feelings of social connection and happiness?


Adam Waytz, Northwestern University

I would like to see psychology researchers working with the people designing technology to examine human-technology interaction in real, consequential, live scenarios rather than artificial ones.