Jens is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and a member of the Department of Psychology in the School of Social Sciences.
Jens is currently course leader for the MSc Cyberpsychology course and an Associate Course Leader for the Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology. His teaching focuses on Social Psychology and Cyberpsychology. He also regularly supervises 3rd year dissertations, Masters projects and PhD-level projects.
As a researcher, Jens's interests focus on online communication, social media use and human-computer interaction. He is currently supervisor and co-supervisor to four PhD-level projects in these areas. His core questions concern online social competence and literacy, online safety, and user wellbeing.
Jens studied at the Universities of Tuebingen, Germany and Massachusetts, US. He completed his doctoral work in 2005 in the area of small group decision-making and negotiation under the supervision of Michael Diehl.
Jens was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex from 2005-2006, working with Rupert Brown and Hanna Zagefka on intergroup relations, acculturation an intergroup contact. This was followed by post-doctoral work outside of psychology at the University of Manchester with Alistair Sutcliffe, Andrew Howes and Steve Payne in the area of social-media, online social networks and evolutionary models of human relationships.
Jens joined NTU in 2009 as a full-time lecturer.
Jens has investigated interactive settings on various levels, from intergroup relationships to small group processes, dyadic friendships and social networks. He is primarily using experiments and surveys in the area of cyberpsychology - the study of online behaviours, virtual environments and connective technologies.
Jens' core questions are
(1) Online social competence and literacy: How do users acquire skills and understanding to help them navigate social settings online?
(2) Online safety: How can we prevent and manage riskful online activities?
(3) User wellbeing: How do users gain psychological benefits from online engagement?
To answer these questions, Jens studies and analyses online social networks, online conversational settings and human-media interaction.
Recent and current projects include:
- Risk perceptions in communication networks
- Online radicalisation and extremism
- Conversational engagement and video calls
- Smartphone attachment and smartphone distraction
See link to publications among contact details.
In terms of theoretical approaches, Jens is fascinated by issues surrounding social cognition and evolution; the novelties introduced by socially connective technologies; and applications of social psychological theories and models to online behaviours.
In terms of methods and methodologies, Jens is primarily working with quantitative methods, both experiment-based and survey-based. He specialises in data-analytical tools for approaching ego-centric social networks and other applications of multi-level modelling.
Jens is currently supervisor to four PhD-level projects:
- The role of the internet in online radicalisation among extremist offenders (Jonathan Kenyon)
- The role of humour and banter in cyberbullying (Oonagh Steers)
- Influences of Organisational Trust on E-mail Communications Behaviour (Irma Fabular)
- Intercultural differences in the experience of cyberbullying (Meshal Al-Sager)
Completed PhD projects (first supervisor) are:
- Cultural orientation, Facebook networks, Trust and Support (Moon Halder)
- Internet usage, family cohesion and psychological well-being (Sami Alzhrany)
- Online social network structure, and perceived and actual online vulnerability across age groups (Sarah Buglass)
Jens is a regular reviewer and expert evaluator in the field of Cyberpsychology. He has been an external advisor for the European Research Agency and other national-level research councils; and he undertakes reviews for a range of academic journals, such as Computers in Human Behaviour, American Psychologist and New Media & Society.
Jens is the editor of the new series "Palgrave Studies in Cyberpsychology" with Palgrave Macmillan Publishers (9 titles to date).
Jens is the local organiser for the Inaugural BPS Section Conference Cyberpsychology to take place at NTU in 2020.
In the past years, Jens has designed and delivered two international summer schools on Online Behaviours and Cyberpsychology, in Germany and the Netherlands.
Sponsors and collaborators
External academic collaborators and co-authors include:
- Astrid Carolus, University of Wuerzburg
- Steve Payne, University of Bath
- Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford
- Sam Roberts, University of Chester
- Alistair Sutcliffe, University of Manchester
- Andrew Howes, University of Birmingham
- Rupert Brown, University of Sussex
- Hanna Zagefka, Royal Holloway
Current research on online radicalisation has been made possible through an agreement with the Ministry of Justice.
- Social networks
- Social media
- Online relationships
- Online safety
- Smartphone use