Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dynamics in interactions with digital technology: A depth psychological/theoretical exploration of the evolutionary-biological, symbolic, and emotional psyche in the digital age
by Ziv, Ary, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014, 194; 3633365
Abstract (Summary)

The intention of this exploratory research is to shed light on the psychological impact of interactions with digital technology, which is increasingly pervasive in our culture. This dissertation asks what psychological phenomena are generated by human interactions with digital technology, in general, and with complex recommendation systems, in particular. Nondigital technology is contrasted with digital technology, which achieves new levels of interactivity through its artificial and virtual capabilities. It is proposed that the degree of increased interactivity made possible by digital technology crosses a threshold impacting the psyche in new ways.

A theoretical framework for understanding human-digital technology interactions is introduced and developed. The psyche is conceptualized as evolutionarily and biologically based, functioning symbolically and emotionally both consciously and unconsciously. Ramifications of this conceptualization are explored in the context of interactions with digital/algorithmic technology, using recommendation systems as illustrations.

The theoretical investigation concludes that psyche-digital technology interactions are new phenomena. Psychic processes—by nature evolutionarily and biologically symbolic and largely unconscious—interact with nonbiological digital/algorithmic technology. Because of the incongruence of value systems between biological phenomena and digital/algorithmic logic, unconscious psychic processes resulting from interactions between the biological feeling psyche and nonbiological digital technology are likely to significantly impact both psychic development of individuals, in the short term, and quite possibly the human species at large, in the long term.

The method of exploratory research is interpretive and theoretically oriented, while employing a depth psychological lens. Contemporary depth psychology is described as an integrative field that is receptive to insights from all other fields; it considers unconscious phenomena as vital to human psychological makeup. This study brings together depth psychological and neurobiological theory; and is grounded in the work of depth psychologist Erich Neumann, who describes biological-evolutionary-symbolic unconscious and conscious dynamics of the psyche.

As background, social psychology's discoveries of unconscious social behaviors triggered by interacting with new media are highlighted as fundamental in interactions with computing technology. From a depth psychological point of view, conscious and unconscious relationships to and with technology are explored historically as precursors to interactions with digital technology.

Keywords: human-computer interactions, depth psychology, big data, recommendation systems, digital technology, emotions, affect, feeling, neurobiology, Carl Jung, Erich Neumann.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gabrinetti, Paul
Commitee: Robertson, Robin, Sloan, Lisa
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology, Artificial intelligence
Keywords: Big data, Depth psychology, Human-computer interactions, Recommendation systems, Social media, Unconscious
Publication Number: 3633365
ISBN: 9781321130423
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