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PSY 95 — The Internet and Our Psychological Health

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Jul 31
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jul 9
Unit: 1
Tuition: $285
Instructor(s): Elias Aboujaoude
Status: Open
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
Jun 26—Jul 31
6 weeks
Drop By
Jul 9
1 Unit
Elias Aboujaoude
In today’s world, most of us spend time on the Internet, some of us a great deal of time. Eventually, this screen time changes us in subtle or even profound ways. Many people develop—to give one example—an online alter ego that is more impulsive, narcissistic, angry, and childlike. And after spending many hours “being” that person, they can find these undesirable characteristics seeping into their offline behavior and adversely affecting their everyday relationships. Drawing on a growing body of research and cultural observations, this course will explore the range of ways the Internet affects our psychology and mental health, and what we can do to mitigate the harmful effects. As the course unfolds, we will see how the Internet can change our cognition—how it affects our attention, memory, reading, and writing. We will also see how social media—particularly our reliance on status updates, tweets, and emoticons—can come at a cognitive and psychological cost. We will discuss how to maintain psychological health in a social media world where privacy—crucial to healthy psychology—is notoriously hard to maintain. Finally, to explore the other side of the coin, we will highlight how psychological well-being can be derived from certain online activities, and how Internet technologies can offer new ways to treat mental illness (e.g., mobile therapy and virtual reality exposure therapy).

Elias Aboujaoude, Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford School of Medicine

Elias Aboujaoude is a psychiatrist, researcher, and director of the OCD Clinic at Stanford School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. His books include Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality and Mental Health in the Digital Age: Grave Dangers, Great Promise. His scientific publications and other writings have been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, NPR, CNN, and ABC. He received an MA and MD from Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Elias Aboujaoude, MD, MA, Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality (ISBN 978-0393340549)