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Dr Brian Pickering

 MA, PGCert, MSc, DPhil, MBPsS, MBCS
Senior Research Fellow

Research interests

  • My focus is on how human agents interact with technology, especially the online world, to achieve their goals. Most of the work I do is informed by Actor Network Theory and tussle analysis, but also the social psychology of group interactions. This also involves the development of agency and increased self-efficacy.
  • Trust: The social science construct of trust as an ongoing negotiation between trustor (who is willing to expose themselves to vulnerability) and the trustee (who must demonstrate their trustworthiness through their actions) is an underlying theme to much of the work I am involved in. I do not conflate trust with a cognitive assessment of cost versus benefit since there is definitely both a social and an emotional component. With regard to technology, trust is an "organising principle" for much technology-mediated interaction. It also relates to constructs like self-efficacy and agency in technology adoption.
  • Cyberpsychology: I bring together many years of experience with computer technologies (especially speech- and language-enabled applications) with a broader psychological perspective. I'm interested primarily in the Internet as a tool to be adapted for user needs, rather than an independent environment, and therefore uncovering the social and network processes which help individuals engage.

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.


Address: B13, East Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ


Having worked at IBM on speech and voice technologies for many years, Brian joined the IT Innovation Group in 2010 and now works as a Senior Research Fellow looking into aspects of human-machine networks and interactions, and more recently into the ethical aspects of medical data sharing and use. He has many years’ experience of European FP7 and H2020 collaborative projects and has recently published on technology acceptance and trust in machines and actor networks as well as the use of technology in identity formation. He is a member of the British Psychological Society, the British Computer Society, the Research Data Alliance, and the Association of Internet Researchers. Brian is involved with ethics, data protection and information governance; and sits on the faculty Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee. As well as over 30 patents, Brian holds an MA (BA.i.Hons) in Modern Languages and a DPhil in Phonetics from Oxford, a PGCert in Psychology from Roehampton and a MSc (Distinction) in Psychology from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Chair of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee,
Faculty RIG Champion,
Member of the University DPIA,
Member of EDI Committee,
Member of the Centre for Democratic Futures

Member of the British Psychological Society
Member of the British Computer Society

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