Celebrity cyber psychologist joins UEL

​​​​​​​The cyber psychologist who inspired a hit CSI TV franchise has joined the University of East London (UEL) as an Honorary Professor.

Dr Mary Aiken tweeted, “Delighted to become an Honorary Professor at UEL in the Department of Law and Criminology. Looking forward to working on some cutting edge cybercrime research.”

Professor of Criminology Dr ​Julia Davidson said, “I am delighted to welcome Dr Mary Aiken to the Department as Honorary Professor. She is a world leading cyberpsychologist. We will continue our research into areas such as youth pathways into cybercrime building upon our relationship with agencies such as the Europol Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

“Our students will benefit enormously from her expertise and her appointment will consolidate our cutting edge research in the area.”

Dr Aiken’s work on areas such as cyberstalking, virtual behavioural profiling and cyber security drew her to the attention of CBS in 2013, and led to the creation of CSI: Cyber, a crime show that explores the intersection between technology and human behaviour.

Cyber crime

On her website, she writes, “In the show, Patricia Arquette plays Avery Ryan, a special agent in the FBI Cyber Crime unit who is tasked with solving high-octane crimes that ‘start in the mind, live online, and play out into the real world.’ That describes my work perfectly.”

Professor Davidson added, “Cybercrime is one of the new areas of focus in the Department of Criminology. Our national and international research explores the behavioural/human and legal aspects of cybercrime, informing policy and practice but is also now a part of the curriculum ensuring that our teaching is informed by our research and the most recent developments in the field.”

Dr Aiken’s latest book The Cyber Effect explores how the digital world has changed human behaviour, heightening and accelerating traits that are restrained by societal norms in the real world.

She said, “Whenever technology interfaces with a base human disposition the result tend to be amplified and escalated – in my new book I describe this amplification as an almost predictable mathematical multiplier, the cyber effect, the E = mc2 of this century.”

She argues that technology is not inherently good or bad. It is used either well or poorly by people. From this, it follows, she says, that a new generation of cyberpsychologists was required to inform public policy with specialist input.

“Students who qualify with a masters or a doctoral qualification will be eminently employable in a number of different industry sectors,” she told Cyberpsychology.in.

Background

  • Dr Mary Aiken has a Masters of Science in Cyberpsychology and a PhD in Forensic Cyberpsychology. Her research interests include cyber security, cyber-reporting of crime, cyberstalking, virtual behavioural profiling, virtual research methodology, virtual reality treatment of PTSD, cyberchondria, organized cyber crime, the cyber rights of the child, and technology facilitated human trafficking.
  •  She has advised at national and European level in policy debates at the intersection of technology and human behaviour. In 2013 she was appointed to the Irish Government Internet Content Governance Advisory Group and co-led a White House research team as part of the Obama Administration’s initiative ‘Tech. v’s Human Trafficking’.
  •  From 2011 to 2015 Mary conducted a multi-centre International research project investigating youth behavioural escalation online, with Interpol; the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); the Metropolitan Police Force (MPS) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

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