Technology and Social Behavior (TSB) is a joint Ph.D. program in Computer Science and Communication that draws on Northwestern's strong support for interdisciplinary research, benefits from talented faculty who contribute to a tradition of collaboration, and attracts unique students who are eager for academic experiences that cross traditional departmental boundaries.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and receive rigorous training in human-computer interaction, drawing on computer science and social sciences methodologies. The combined degree benefits students by providing: training in a diverse set of quantitative and qualitative methods, experience designing and implementing new technologies, practice incorporating the results of empirical research into these technologies, and preparation for the widest range of academic and industrial jobs.

TSB Research Spotlight: "Understanding Algorithmic Bias"

Geolocation Professors Brent Hecht and Nick Diakopoulos, along with their students, are studying bias in algorithms. Hecht’s work reveals that bias in social-media-based algorithms derives not just from population biases in the underlying data but also from structural biases in the design of algorithms. Diakopoulos’s research argues for algorithmic transparency and highlights the ethical considerations and challenges of algorithmic accountability.

Featured Lab: ATLAS Lab

NASA teamwork The Advancing Teams, Leaders, & Systems (ATLAS) Lab, lead by Professor Leslie DeChurch, uncovers the inner workings of teams and enables the design of large, diverse, digitally-connected teams on Earth and beyond. Researchers in the ATLAS Lab study teams that work in scientific innovation, space exploration, healthcare, and the military.

See more about the ATLAS Lab

TSB Research Examples

Life on Earth: Professor Michael Horn and collaborators created Life on Earth to teach the public about evolution and the history of life through interactive visualizations and collaborative games on multi-touch displays.
See more here.

SocialEQ: Professor Bryan Pardo's research group has developed a new tool that learns the meaning of adjectives describing sound from people on the web. Try it out here.

We are also examining the digital divide from sociological, policy and engineering perspectives; exploring ways to use crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding to support creativity and innovation; developing new ways to mine cultural diversity and develop culturally-aware technologies; studying and designing new technologies for health; and designing natural user interfaces for collaboration, learning, and accessibility.

News and Announcements

We are accepting applications for admission to the TSB program for Fall 2018. Please see the Admissions page for more information.

Welcome new faculty: We are delighted to welcome Nick Diakopoulos as our newest TSB faculty member.

Congratulations to TSB doctoral students Colin Fitzpatrick, who has joined Facebook as a User Experience Researcher, Robin Brewer who is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan's iSchool, and Pei-Yi Kuo who is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan.

NU at CHI: Northwestern faculty and students were authors on 21 papers that were presented at the CHI 2017 conference.

NU at CSCW: Northwestern faculty and students were authors on 11 papers that were presented at the CSCW 2017 conference.

TSB Speaker Series

The TSB Distinguished Colloquium take place on Thursdays @ 4pm. Check out our list of previous and upcoming speakers for the 2017-2018 series.

Awards and Publications

Congratulations to Professor Darren Gergle who was appointed to the AT&T Research Professorship for 2017-2018!

Congratulations to both Professor Anne Marie Piper and Professor Mike Horn for receiving Faculty Early Career Development Awards sponsored by the National Science Foundation


TSB Student Spotlight

Congratulations to TSB doctoral students, Jim Maddock on recieving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award and Sarah D'Angelo on recieving a Google PhD Fellowship in HCI.