Cyberpsychology: evolution of notion and current state

In the USA and the Western Europe there is extensive development of cyberpsychology with emphasis in human-computer interaction (HCI) since the early 2000s. The international scientific community has shown considerable interest in this question in parallel with the growth of the Internet and including large numbers of people in interaction with computers. But there are researches and publications that we can now include in this area since the 1980s or earlier.  This movement is starting to involve new states in Eastern Europe nowadays. In this situation, the importance of the correct systematization of expert meetings to deepen understanding of cyberpsychology field now took on particular significance.

Theoretical Framework. The term “Cyberpsychology” formally approved  in recent years. But, it is also true that occasional terminological ambiguity is still in place.

When examining the meaning attributed to the term “Cyberpsychology”, we should take into account their  change in recent years:

  • “Cyberpsychology is the study of the impact of computers, technology, and virtual environments on the psychology of individuals and groups. (Kent L.Norman, 2008)” [1, P. 9]
  • “Cyberpsychology examines how we interact with others using technology, how our behavior is influenced by technology and how our psychological states can be affected by technologies. (Andrew Power, Grainne Kirwan, 2013)” [2, P. 3]
  • Cyberpsychology (or Internet psychology) is a branch of psychology that unites (and is responsible for) the methodology, theory and practice of researching the types, ways and principles of people’s use of social Internet services. (A.E. Voiskunsky, 2013)” [3, P. 88]
  • “Cyberpsychology is a recent branch of psychology whose main research objects are the processes of change induced by new technologies. Some of these processes are related to and involve a variety of affective computing and human-computer interaction in general are significant, yet its psychological origins suggest that the research communities have somewhat different focuses. (Giuseppe Riva, 2014)” [4, P. 547]
  • “Cyberpsychology considers the psychological processes, motivation, intentions, behavioral outcomes, and effects on both our online and offline worlds, associated with any form of technology. (Alison Attrill, 2015)” [5, P. 268]
  • “Cyberpsychology is the branch of psychology that examines how we interact with others using technology, how our behavior is influenced by technology, how technology can be developed to best suit our needs, and how our psychological states can be affected by technologies. (Irene Connolly, 2016) ”[6, P. 3]
  • “Cyberpsychology is the study of individuals societies and digital technologies and the psychology of how these interact. (Monica T. Whitty., Garry Young, 2016)” [7, P. 1]
  • “Cyberpsychology – the study of the impact of technology on human behavior. (Mary Aiken, 2017)” [8, P. 4]

  Leading scholars from Europe and North America were agreed as to academic and practical field of cyberpsychology  is much broader  than Internet psychology or web psychology and it is including of an interaction between man and machine, in particular, human–computer interaction (HCI).

Russian school of cyberpsychology stays (A.E. Voiskunsky) for its part,  at an earlier stage of  equating cyberpsychology and Internet psychology.

Nowadays cyberpsychology is developing as independent discipline at the intersection of Psychology and Computer science which has academic texts and Peer-reviewed academic journals.

The table 1 gives an list of manuals and the table 2 gives an list of peer-reviewed academic journals dedicated to cyberpsychology which is available in chronological order.

In that sense, John Suler can be considered a father of cyberpsychology. His book “The Psychology of Cyberspace” (1996) was only the early warnings of an emerging trend. This book is one of the first and most widely cited online hypertext books in cyberpsychology area [9].

Table 1. Manuals dedicated to cyberpsychology

Author / Editor Title Year Pages
Angel J. Gordo-Lopez and Ian Parker Cyberpsychology 1999 244
Giuseppe Riva,‎ Carlo Galimberti Towards Cyberpsychology: Mind, Cognition and Society in the Internet Age (Emerging Communication: Studies in New Technologies and Practices in communication 2001 332
Gackenbanch Psychology and the Internet 2006 392
Joinson et al. The Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology 2007 520
Barak Psychological Aspects of Cyberspace 2008 336
Kent L. Norman Cyberpsychology: An Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction 2008 553
Icon Group International Cyberpsychology: Webster’s Timeline History, 1998 – 2007 2010 26
Amichai-Hamburger The Social Net 2013 296
Andrew Power and Grainne Kirwan Cyberpsychology and New Media: A thematic reader 2013 264
Alison Attrill Cyberpsychology 2015 304
S. Shyam Sundar The Handbook of the Psychology of Communication Technology 2015 616
Monica T. Whitty and Garry Young Cyberpsychology: The Study of Individuals, Society and Digital Technologies (BPS Textbooks in Psychology) 2016 264
A. Attrill and C. Fullwood Applied Cyberpsychology: Practical Applications of Cyberpsychological Theory and Research 2016 266
Irene Connolly and Marion Palmer An Introduction to Cyberpsychology 2016 348
Mary Aiken The Cyber Effect: An Expert in Cyberpsychology Explains How Technology Is Shaping Our Children, Our Behavior, and Our Values–and What We Can Do About It 2017 400
Thomas D. Parsons Cyberpsychology and the Brain: The Interaction of Neuroscience and Affective Computing 2017 460
Juan Moises de la Serna and María Alejandra Camacho Cyberpsychology 2017 66
Olivia A. Hurley Giuseppe Riva and Carlo Galimberti Sport Cyberpsychology 2018 232
Andrew Dr Power Cyberpsychology and Society: Current Perspectives 2018  244

Table 2. Peer-reviewed academic journals dedicated to cyberpsychology

Title Country Publisher Issues Per Year Coverage H Index
Computers in Human Behavior United Kingdom Elsevier Ltd 1 1985-ongoing 111
Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments United States MIT Press 4 1992-ongoing 72
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication United States Wiley-Blackwell 4 1996-ongoing 90
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking United States Mary Ann Liebert Inc. 12 1998-ongoing 106
New Media & Society United States SAGE Publications 8 1999-ongoing 74
Media Psychology United States Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. 4 1999-ongoing 54
Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace Czech Republic Masaryk University 4 2007-ongoing 9
Journal of Media Psychology Germany Hogrefe-Verlag GmbH und Co., KG 4 2008-ongoing 17

These are high-impact journals that focus on cyberpsychology which give opportunity to researcher “to stay in touch” in ever-evolving and developing area of research. The importance of this item has been recognized. It is being increasingly realized that the professionals should be given training and education as cyberpsychology experts.

The first Master degree in cyberpsychology was developed and carried out in 2005 in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Ireland).

For today there are three countries (Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia) and five universities that host MSc Cyberpsychology degree. Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia) announced MSc Cyberpsychology degree since 2018. The table 3 provides a summary of сourses dedicated to cyberpsychology.

Table 3. Courses dedicated to cyberpsychology

Country University Type of course


MSc. in Cyberpsychology
Certificate in Cyberpsychology
United Kingdom University of Bolton Cyberpsychology
University of Wolverhampton MSc. in Cyberpsychology
Cyberpsychology Research 
Nottingham Trent University MSc. in Cyberpsychology
Australia University of Sydney Cyberpsychology and E-Health
Russia Lomonosov Moscow State University MSc. in Cyberpsychology

Purpose of the Study is to provide information about the current status of cyberpsychology, complementing it with an systematizing approaches to cyberpsychology notion and research.

 Findings Results. Kent L. Norman  indicates cyberpsychology as unique synergistic combination and presents his scheme of “Cyberpsychology as the intersection of human and computer activity” which set out in Figure 1 [1, P. 9] below.  

Figure 1. Cyberpsychology as the intersection of human and computer activity (Kent L. Norman).

The active development of cyberpsyhology field started from intensive Internet development that’s why Internet behaviour rests mainstream of current research in this area. But new applied fields within cyberpsyhology has a trend towards differentiation during huge technology developments of last decades. There are forensic cyberpsyhology, clinical cyberpsyhology, sport cyberpsyhology and others. Its also considers how interfaces can be designed and how psyhologycal teatment can be providing with using of new gadgets. 

Whereas previously the cyberpsychology was defined as a relatively new field within applied psychology with several journals and texts, the new provisions define the cyberpsychology as an independent study with its own applied fields. A general scheme of cyberpsyhology research has been developed for demonstration of relations between the these areas of research and practical application and is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2. Relations between cyberpsychology areas of research and practical application of cyberpsychology.

This scheme is a  revolving wheel, which are different  sectors of applied fields of cyberpsyhology. There is also fixed section which is overlaid on applied field during rotation. This fixed section consists of computer-based technology using which includes as central part as Internet behavior.

The scheme shows that the computer-based technologies is leading to consideration of a new practical areas  that have never been possible before. New generation moves from computer illiteracy to computer high intelligence.

The use of the possibilities of information and communication technologies for health, within the framework of cyberpsychology, allows to expand access to psychological assistance, regardless of location and obstacles to treatment. This area of research is called Telemental health. Human interest in technical innovations due to the novelty effect translates the unpleasant process of treatment into an exciting game procedure. Achievements in scientific and technological progress increase the effectiveness of psychological care and its degree of confidentiality. There are different kinds of online and offline counseling and treatment as Computerized and Internet–mediated Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy, Augmented Reality Exposure Therapy (ARET)) and mobile therapy (mTherapy).

Based on the above described cyberpsychological innovations and whole human functioning in a digital world it can be noted that it has both tremendous opportunities and serious limitations. These risks are connected with Internet and computer addiction, stress due to the loss of access to Internet or smartphones as nomophobia, cybercrime, cyber-bullying, the problems with virtualization of relationships and transfer of life in virtual world, etc.

 This technological movement results to new opportunities and threats which should be recognized during research investigations. Current research is focused on positive and negative aspects of human-computer interactions. The main directions of research and practical appliances of cyberpsychology is shown in figure 3.

Figure 3. The main directions of research and practical appliances of cyberpsychology.

Finally, the analysis presented give us criterias for defining of cyberpsychology. Cyberpsychology is the study of using of computer-based technology, including online and offline interaction and their application to different human activities.


1. The scheme of relations between cyberpsychology areas of research and practical application of cyberpsychology was developed. It includes computer-based technology using whit Internet behavior as central part which is overlaid on applied fields.

2. The main directions of research and practical appliances of cyberpsychology is described. There is divisions between research of online and offline aspects of human-computer interections.

3. The notion of “cyberpsychology” has been defined based on an analysis of  research of recent decade. Cyberpsychology is interpreted  as the study of using of computer-based technology,  including online and offline interaction and  their application to  different human activities.

In future it is planned to study the particular parts of cyberpsychology research and providing practical cyberpsychology method of training and treatment.

Citation: V. Tsokota, O. Kravchenko


  1. Kent L. Norman Cyberpsychology: An Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction. 2008. 553 p. URL: (request date: 11.2017)
  2. Power A., Kirwan G. Cyberpsychology and New Media: A thematic reader. 2013. 264 p. URL: (request date: 11.2017)
  3. Войскунский А. Е. Киберпсихология как раздел психологической науки и практики (рус.) // Universum: Вестник Герценовского университета: журнал. — 2013. — № 4. — С. 88. URL: (request date: 11.2017)
  4.        Calvo R. A., D’Mello S., Gratch J., Kappas A. The Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing Oxford University Press. 2015. 605 p. URL: (request date: 15.11.2017)
  1. Attrill A. Cyberpsychology. 2015. 304 p. URL: (request date: 11.2017)
  2. Connolly I. and Palmer M. An Introduction to Cyberpsychology. 2016. 348 p. URL: (request date: 11.2017)
  3. Monica T. Young W. and G. Cyberpsychology: The Study of Individuals, Society and Digital Technologies (BPS Textbooks in Psychology). 2016. URL: (request date: 04.11.2017)
  4. Mary Aiken The Cyber Effect: An Expert in Cyberpsychology Explains How Technology Is Shaping Our Children, Our Behavior, and Our Values–and What We Can Do About It. 2017. URL: (request date: 04.11.2017)
  5. Suler, J. The Psychology of Cyberspace (article orig. pub. 1996). 2002 URL: (request date: 07.11.2017)






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