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Dr. Adam N. Joinson
Occupation Cyberpsychologist
Employer University of Bath

Dr. Adam N. Joinson is a British cyberpsychologist.

Education and Career[edit]

Joinson studied for his undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of London, Goldsmiths College in 1991. He then went to the University of Hertfordshire to obtain his Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 1996.[1]

His career started in 1995, as a lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Glamorgan. In 1999, he joined the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University as a lecturer (and then senior lecturer) in ICT and Social Science. He joined the University of Bath in 2007, first as a senior lecturer, then (and currently) a Reader in Information Systems.[2] Joinson is also currently the Director of the Interactions Lab at the University of Bath.[3]

Areas of Research[edit]

Joinson's research interests are focused on the interactions between people and technology. In particular, the nature of communication via technology, and the ways in which system design influences communication.[4]

Findings and Comments[edit]

In 2000, Joinson and his team of scientists carried out a groundbreaking study which looked into the psychological consequences of e-mail communication. He asked 100 pairs of students (who did not know each other) to resolve a dilemma, firstly face-to-face and then via e-mail. When presenting the team's findings at the British Psychological Society's London conference, Joinson stated that the participants "disclosed over four times as much when they communicated over the Internet as when they talked face-to-face". The study concluded that "e-mailing strips away inhibitions because it changes the rues of normal communications". However with the addition of web cams to the study, the number of disclosures dropped immediately. This suggested that the use of e-mail gives a sense of "distance, anonymity and privacy".[5].

In 2002, a survey conducted by search engine AltaVista found that 80% of men claimed to be better surfers than their female partners. Joinson, asked by the BBC, suggested the findings bear out traditional gender stereotypes. He stated "as information has become such a valuable commodity, it's not surprising that men have transferred their traditional hunter-gatherer role to hunting for information on the web". Joinson however suggests that he would be "surprised if men's self-perceived superiority is grounded in fact".[6]

In 2007, a project led by Joinson, Privacy and Self-Disclosure Online discovered that users who had previously demonstrated a high level of caution regarding online privacy would accept losses to their privacy if they trusted the recipient of their personal information. Out of all the participants studied, 56 per cent of Internet users stated that they had concerns about privacy when they were online. Joinson concluded the prject by stating "one of the most interesting aspects of our findings, is that even people who genuinely have a high level of concern regarding privacy online may act in a way that is contrary to their stated attitudes when they come across a particular set of conditions".[7]

In an interview with Interattivo in 2008, Joinson stated the findings of a study into the social networking site of Facebook and how the general public used it. His study included: "...two parts. In the first, 137 users were asked what they used Facebook for, what they most enjoyed about using the site, and what uses were most important to them. These responses were then clustered by trained raters. Selected answers from each cluster were then turned into a questionnaire that 241 people completed, and statistical techniques used to identify activities that occured together.......A number of surprising findings emerged. First, the amount of time people spend on the site is predicted not by their number of friends, but by the amount they interact with the applications within Facebook. In fact, spending time interacting with applications was associated with having fewer friends on Facebook. Second, the majority of the respondents had changed their privacy settings, but some had made themselves more open, which was motivated by a desire to meet new people - so they made themselves 'discoverable'. Third, the frequency of visits to the site was motivated by an interest in photographs and in other people's news (via their 'status' updates)".[8]

In 2010, Joinson spoke with The Daily Telegraph about his belief that social media may have negative effects on privacy and intimacy levels between people. He stated "as new technology and social media encourage sharing of the small details of everyday life, it also reduces privacy in social relationships, and may have negative effects on intimacy levels between people. If you desire intimacy, it may well be disastrous to add your partner to Facebook, or to follow them on Twitter".[9]


Joinson has published over 50 journal articles, and has released three books:[10]

  • Understanding the Psychology of Internet Behavior (2003) (ISBN 0333984684)
  • The Oxford handbook of Internet psychology (2007) (ISBN 019956180X)
  • Truth, Lies and Trust on the Internet (2009) (ISBN 184169584X)


  1. ^ Jayne Gackenbach (2007). Psychology and the internet: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal implications. Academic Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-12-369425-6. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "About Me". Adam Joinson. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "People". University of Bath. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "University of Bath - School of Management - About - Dr Adam Joinson". University of Bath. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Matt Haig (1 September 2001). E-mail essentials: how to make the most of e-communication. Kogan Page Publishers. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-7494-3576-9. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "BBC NEWS". BBC. Retrieved 21 March 2012.  Text " Technology " ignored (help); Text " Sexism 'rife' in cyberspace" ignored (help)
  7. ^ "Internet users give up privacy to trustworthy recipients - Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WITH FACEBOOK? Interview with Adam N. Joinson (Univ. Bath) - Interattivo". Interattivo. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Facebook and Twitter users 'undermine their right to privacy' - Telegraph". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Oxford handbook of Internet psychology - Adam N. Joinson, Katelyn McKenna, Tom Postmes - Google Books". Google. Retrieved 21 March 2012.