The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes Shalini Misra, an assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, for her work studying how technologies such as smart phones can have unexpected social effects.
A faculty member with the Urban Affairs and Planning program in the National Capital Region, Misra studies the social, psychological, and health implications of the Internet and digital communication technologies.
In a recent study in the journal Environment & Behavior, Misra explored “The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices.”
She examined the relationship between the presence of mobile devices and the quality of real-life in-person social interactions. She discovered that in the presence of mobile devices, people have the constant urge to seek out information, check for communication, and direct their thoughts to other people — even when the devices are inactive.
Conversations in the absence of mobile communication technologies were rated significantly superior compared with those in the presence of a mobile device, above and beyond the effects of age, gender, ethnicity, and mood.
Through environment and behavior studies, Misra focuses on the psychological and health impacts of stressors such as information overload and multitasking. She is also interested in the “science of team science” or the study of the processes and outcomes of large-scale transdisciplinary collaborative scientific, training, and action research initiatives.
She received her doctoral degree in environment and behavior studies from the University of California, Irvine, her master’s degree with high distinction from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Gujarat University, India.