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Hello! I am Andy Przybylski (shuh-bill-ski) the University of Oxford's Professor of Human Behaviour and Technology. My work is mainly concerned with applying psychological models of motivation and health to study how people interact with virtual environments including video games and social media. I'm particularly interested in integrating open, robust, and reproducible science with evidence-based policymaking in the digital age.


Academic Papers

Vuorre, M., Przybylski, A.K.
November 2023

In the last 2 decades, the widespread adoption of Internet technologies has inspired concern that they have negatively affected mental health and psychological well-being. However, research on the topic is contested and hampered by methodological shortcomings, leaving the broader consequences of Internet adoption unknown. We show that the past 2 decades have seen only small and inconsistent changes in global well-being and mental health that are not suggestive of the idea that the adoption of Internet and mobile broadband is consistently linked to negative psychological outcomes. Further investigation of this topic requires transparent study of online behaviors where they occur (i.e., on online platforms). We call for increased collaborative efforts between independent scientists and the Internet-technology sector.

Impact of digital screen media activity on functional brain organization in late childhood: Evidence from the ABCD study

Miller, J., Mills, K.L., Vuorre, M., Orben, A. and Przybylski, A.K.

November 2023

The idea that the increased ubiquity of digital devices negatively impacts neurodevelopment is as compelling as it is disturbing. This study investigated this concern by systematically evaluating how different profiles of screen-based engagement related to functional brain organization in late childhood. We studied participants from a large and representative sample of young people participating in the first two years of the ABCD study (ages 9–12 years) to investigate the relations between self-reported use of various digital screen media activity (SMA) and functional brain organization. A series of generalized additive mixed models evaluated how these relationships related to functional outcomes associated with health and cognition. Of principal interest were two hypotheses: First, that functional brain organization (assessed through resting state functional connectivity MRI; rs-fcMRI) is related to digital screen engagement; and second, that children with higher rates of engagement will have functional brain organization profiles related to maladaptive functioning. Results did not support either of these predictions for SMA. Further, exploratory analyses predicting how screen media activity impacted neural trajectories showed no significant impact of SMA on neural maturation over a two-year period.

Estimating the association between Facebook adoption and well-being in 72 countries

Vuorre, M., Przybylski, A.K.
August 2023

Social media's potential effects on well-being have received considerable research interest, but much of past work is hampered by an exclusive focus on demographics in the Global North and inaccurate self-reports of social media engagement. We describe associations linking 72 countries' Facebook adoption to the well-being of 946 798 individuals from 2008 to 2019. We found no evidence suggesting that the global penetration of social media is associated with widespread psychological harm: Facebook adoption predicted life satisfaction and positive experiences positively, and negative experiences negatively, both between countries and within countries over time. Nevertheless, the observed associations were small and did not reach a conventional 97.5% one-sided credibility threshold in all cases. Facebook adoption predicted aspects of well-being more positively for younger individuals, but country-specific results were mixed. To move beyond studying aggregates and to better understand social media's roles in people's lives, and their potential causal effects, we need more transparent collaborative research between independent scientists and the technology industry.

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