education

Copyright Denise Karis

Copyright Denise Karis

I combine degrees in Psychology, Spanish, and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I was named a Carolina Research Scholar for my strong emphasis in interdisciplinary research.

This unique combination of the digital and the human informed my doctoral work in cyberpsychology alongside Dr. Virginia S. Y. Kwan. For more information about this body of research, please read our 2015 book chapter. In 2017, I graduated from Arizona State University with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, which focused on the dynamic interplay between the physical and digital worlds when humans face threatening experiences (e.g., violence, cybercrime).

I am deeply grateful to the National Science Foundation, Facebook, and ASU’s Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA) for funding my graduate career and making this research possible.

Why cyberpsychology?

While other three-year-olds were learning how to swim,* my dad was teaching me how to navigate a beige, boxy Apple LC-II. We’re talking black-and-white screen the size of my still-bald head with a mouse so boxy it might have been an NES controller — and I loved it. By the time I was 11, I’d set up more than 25 websites and chatrooms built around HTML and (the still relatively new) CSS; by the time I was 14, I was writing elementary programs.

I still haven’t learned this crucial life skill.

I chose my minor in Information Systems — which is provided by Carolina’s world-renowned School of Information & Library Science — very carefully. Although computer science and programming courses were required for this concentration, they were focused almost exclusively on the machine, rather than its two-way interaction with the human user. I wanted to know the full picture, particularly in a digital age where we are growing increasingly reliant upon the devices we keep so close at hand each day. And thus my fascination with cyberpsychology, the marriage of technology and psychology, was born.

For more information about my research, please click here.