Cyberpsychology: A new era

Technology is moving at an increasing speed and we as people are unable to respond in a way that our physical and mental health remains a priority.

The human-technology interaction changes constantly and depends on the fundamental shifts we see every couple of years, like the increased use of Internet of Medical Things (IoMTs) and social media, which create alterations in behaviours and perspectives.

Cyberpsychology emerges as a unique discipline in this new era. It has been broadly defined as understanding the underlying psychological processes and aspects involved in human behaviour while using technology. Based on the name of it, we would consider only psychology to be involved. However, it is much broader and has a transdisciplinary nature incorporating disciplines of engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, and forensics. There is growing recognition of cyberpsychology by bodies like the American Psychological Association (APA), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as growing interest from scientific journals, conferences, and academic programs. Furthermore, cyberpsychology applies in several areas such as psychological practice, healthcare, security, and education.

There are 5 areas, most relevant to the cyberpsychology field:

  • Social Media & Psychological Functioning
  • Online Behaviour & Personality
  • Telepsychology
  • Games & Gaming
  • Virtual Reality & Artificial Intelligence

The 5 areas are the most prominent and primarily include behavioural responses, emotional functioning, perceptual processes, and personality variables.

Psychologists and social and behavioural scientists work constantly in the field of cyberpsychology to apply expertise in behaviour and mental processing and to resolve the blur that we face in this human-machine interaction. Regulating and policing the cyberspace will improve the effectiveness of cyber operations and scientists working in cyberpsychology can further contribute to support peoples’ mental health in relation to their cyber behaviour; facilitate intelligence operations in the cyberspace; help enable psychological operations and get involved in hostage or ransomware situations.

With the number of internet and computer users rising, the technology’s effects on the human psyche will continue to significantly shape both our interactions with each other and our perceptions of the world!