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Tech unplugged, Psych in the City

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April 6, 2011
Discomfort over unplugging technology
A global study shows that young adults experience distress when they try to unplug from technology, even for one day. The U.S based World Unplugged project found that a majority of nearly 1,000 university students in 10 countries were unable to voluntarily stay away from computers, television, cell phones and MP3 players for 24 hours, citing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, even panic. SFU communication professor Peter Chow-White says the study shows how important mobile technologies and other information technologies are becoming to our sense of being connected. “I would suggest that the responses show more about what technologies enable in connecting to our friends, work colleagues, information, and entertainment than the technology itself,” he says. “For youth, it may be about connecting to friends and the mobile phone is a central technology for doing that. They may have the same responses if they were told they couldn’t go out and see their friends face to face for sometime as well. Losing the use of their phones is literally about being disconnected from their social circles - very important for that age group.”

Peter Chow-White, 778.782.7289;; @pachowwhite

Psychology connects to crime
Six SFU psychologists will share their research on how psychological factors affect crime, justice and athletic performance, at Psych in the City, a popular three-part free lecture series. It kicks off Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. with lectures by Ron Roesch and Don Read and features two more Wednesday sessions, April 20 and 27. Roesch and Read will discuss, from different perspectives, the role mental disorder and psychological vulnerability can play in the prevalence of crime, wrongful convictions and rising prison populations. The lecture series runs at the Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre at SFU Vancouver’s Harbour Centre campus.

Jeni Koumoutsakis, SFU psychology, 778.782.3250;
Don Read, 778.782.3358;
Ron Roesch, 778.782.3370;


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