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Nate Fast: The Psychology of Technology

Associate Professor of Management and Organization Nate Fast is at the forefront of a new field of business research: The psychology of technology.

February 19, 2020
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“My research lab is exploring the factors that shape people’s attitudes about new technologies, as well as how these technologies transform how we live, work, and interact.”

 

When Nathanael Fast began studying psychology as an undergraduate, courses covered topics like human behavior in groups and personal identity. Today, the behavioral scientist is leading the development of an entirely new area of inquiry in academic business research: the psychology of technology.

In 2016, Fast and Juliana Schroeder from UC Berkeley organized a conference on the psychology of technology in response to the increasing pace of technological innovation and its impact on people. Fast’s research at the time addressed issues of both personal and professional power, as well as workplace dynamics, and he had established the Hierarchy, Networks, and Technology Lab (HiNT Lab) at Marshall to unite scholars from a range of disciplines in discussion of the psychological determinants and consequences of hierarchy, networks, and technology.

Within two years the conference grew into the Psychology of Technology Institute, and in 2018, Fast and Jonathan Gratch of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies won a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative to further their work.

Since then, Fast has published the chapter, “Technology and Social Evaluation: Implications for Individuals and Organizations,” with Roshni Raveendhran, in The Cambridge Handbook of Technology and Employee Behavior, edited by R.N. Landers (Cambridge University Press 2019), and so far this year, he has two papers in Current Opinions in Psychology: “Power and Decision Making: New Directions for Research in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” with Schroeder, and Privacy Matters… Or Does It? Algorithms, Rationalization, and the Erosion of Concern for Privacy” with Arthur S. Jago. Four additional empirical papers are in the advanced stages of the review process at leading journals.

Fast joined the faculty at Marshall in 2009, and was named Associate Professor of Management and Organization in 2016. He has served on the editorial boards of Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin since 2013, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes since 2014. He has been a columnist for Behavioral Scientist since its founding in 2017 and was acknowledged as one of the “World’s 40 Best B-School Professors Under the Age of 40” in 2014 by Poets and Quants.

Fast earned his Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Stanford University, as well as an MA in psychology from CSU, Fresno, and a BA in psychology from George Fox University.