Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Susan Opotow

Committee Members

Michelle Fine

Maria Torre

Jessie Daniels

Subject Categories

Other Psychology | Science and Technology Studies | Social Justice | Social Psychology | Theory and Philosophy


Social media, psychology, technology, media psychology


My dissertation examines two controversies related to emergent uses of information from social media in psychological research and application. It focuses on controversies surrounding studies of face-based gaydar and the use of psychographic targeting by Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 US presidential election. Each controversy is analyzed in a case study that explores the issues specific to that study in relation to broader patterns across contexts to identify emergent trends in the use of information from social media in psychological research. Qualitative Content Analysis is used to analyze extant texts relevant to each case. In each study, findings related to scientific practice, research ethics, and justice are identified. Recommendations for more valid, more ethical, and more just research practice are discussed.

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