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Current CV (Please Click)

2015 - 2019     

D.Phil in Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

Stipendiary College Lecturer, The Queen's College

  • Visiting Researcher, Social Media Lab, Leibniz Institut für Wissensmedien
  • Executive Director of the Oxford Inspires Conference
  • Leading for Impact Fellow, Saïd Business School 
  • TechWomen50 Awards 2017, We Are the City
  • Prize for Best Talk, St. Hilda's MCR Research Symposium

2012 - 2015     

B.A. (Hons) in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge (First Class)

  • Bundy Scholarship 2015
  • Magdalene College Prize for Natural sciences 2014 & 2015
  • Browning Summer Research Scholarship 2014
  • Magdalene College Scholarship

Amy Orben

B.A. (Cantab)

DPhil Candidate and College Lecturer

The psychology of social media

I investigate the effect of social media on human interaction and relationship formation. I do both basic research about online friendship formation, and more complex work examining online social environments and how they influence group formation and potential polarisation. 

While previously direct and reciprocated contact was a major part of people's social lives, many social media users now spend considerable amounts of time passively consuming: they examine others’ social media updates without engaging in any direct interaction. This unilateral form of contact challenges previous conceptions of human social life and relationship formation. Can relationships and friendships develop or be maintained when people passively consume what other people have self-disclosed online? 

Furthermore, online environments are very different from our offline world; they are much larger, impose things like character limits and have different social norms. Do these changes in social environment influence the dynamics of interaction, and does this increase polarisation?

In a yet sparsely researched area, I use data-driven and experimental methodologies to investigate the psychology of social media. Alongside my research, I regularly appear on both national and international media channels commenting on how social media and technology are affecting our social lives. I write for the public and advise non-profits, media production companies, start-ups and science outreach organisations. As a Leading for Impact Fellow at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, I am also an active member of the Oxford Saïd Business School.

Before coming to Oxford, I completed my undergraduate degree at Cambridge reading Natural Sciences where I received the Magdalene College Scholarship, Bundy Scholarship and Browning Summer Research Grant. At Cambridge, I started by university degree studying mathematics, biology and physics but specialised in psychology by the end of my undergraduate degree.

Please click here to see my current CV.

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Recent Publications


Public Outreach and Impact (selection)

Radio and Television

Interviewee on Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, UK, November 2017

Panellist on TRT Roundtable: Are smartphones hijacking our minds?, TRT TV London, UK, November 2017

Expert Panellist on BBC Newshour Extra: Are Smartphones Harming Teenagers, BBC World Service, UK, September 2017

I have also contributed to BBC Radio Oxford, Heart Radio and VoltageTV



iGen: Is it science or is it advertisement?, The Psychologist, in press

Chasing social media shares harms public trust in science - so stop it, The Guardian, 28th June 2017

Social media is nothing like drugs, despite all the horror stories, The Conversation, 18th June 2017

Two Peas in an (Evolutionary) Pod? Facebook and Face-to-Face, Medium, 20th April 2017



Zinc, social impact start-up accelerator

Guerilla Science, science outreach organisation