Impact of IT on Human behavior

How has reliance on IT (information technology) impacted human behavior? What role psychologists play in maximizing its positive impact?

impact of it on human behavior
Technological revolution worldwide has made information technology a "new necessity" which acts as the vehicle to attaining decent standards of living and opening windows of opportunities for individuals. Internet and digital technology has impacted the following spheres of human life:

1) Cognitive Behavior

Positive impacts

  • Increased access to information and its analysis increases awareness along with higher universal IQ, enabling better decision making and heightened understanding of world.
  • Possibilities to create and manage identities in novel ways leading to more imaginative,creative pursuits.
  • Increased connectivity and different attributes of the virtual world makes the human mind adapt to internet by way of "fluid intelligence" (defined by Cattel)-which is the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems independent of acquired knowledge.

Negative impacts

  • Brains are being 'rewired in the adaptation to IT making it harder to relax due to information overload.
  • Over usage of sight and selected sensory organs to deduce information in virtual communication which is misleading.
  • Desire to be a live node on a network conditions one to pay continuous partial attention which may lead to paying only partial attention continuously.
  • Fear of missing out, peer pressure gives an artificial sense of constant crisis keeping brain on high alert-leading to partial attention and not multitasking.

2) Social Behavior

Positive impacts

  • Better collaboration and sociability between like-minded people, free expression of beliefs and supporting causes leads to greater self-actualization.
  • Propagation of more rational, scientific and egalitarian values and beliefs enabling integration of self in various dimensions
  • Use of cloud storage etc has enabled work from home options helping women, nursing mothers etc continue in job market in the comfort and safety of their homes.
  • IT has made people more productive saving time labor and money, giving increased sense of control over own lives.
  • Better acceptance and understanding of diversity.
  • Positive content circulating, ability to project oneself in a desirable way has helped increase self confidence and motivation to push oneself in achieving goals, thereby increasing aspirations.
  • Expanded sense of identity in the globalized world (e.g People of different nationalities putting up the French flag as display pictures in social media to how their support after the 2015 Paris Terror attacks)

Negative impact

  • Cultural beliefs antagonistic to beliefs spawned by IT revolution.
  • Diffused lines between personal and public information creating confusion and stress.
  • Digital divide highlighting inequalities and relative deprivation.
  • Addictive games like blue whale etc increasing suicidal and antisocial tendencies.
  • Attention seeking behavior and pathological need to document ones life for social media.

3) Economic Behavior

Positive impacts

  • World Development Report 2016 by World Bank elucidated greater shares in profits due to changed economic patterns in retail trade.
  • Cutting down of transacting costs in buying and selling facilitated greater economic activity.
  • Mobile finance changed consumer behavior patterns with e commerce prevailing over traditional traders.

Negative impacts

  • Reduced physical handling of money (due to demonetization, increased digital transactions etc) has lead to increased usage of credit cards leading to higher debt per individual 
  • Tendency to spend more freely on non essential in the realm of virtual money.
  • Targeted advertising and increased peer pressure leading to lavish consumerism with limited income avenues
  • Threat of hacking of digitized financial data with possible collapse of whole economy.

4) Political Behavior

Positive impacts

  • Readily available information and easy dissemination of messages helping government campaigns like Swachh Bharath Abhiyan.
  • Reduced communication gap between people and government helping in administration of good and maximum governance with minimum government.(e.g. Twitter becoming the medium to contact union ministers for addressing complaints directly-Railway and external affairs ministers have set good examples)
  • Helped democracy by giving people more voice leading to new ways of cooperation and new avenues for dissent!
  • Provided legitimate identity to people by Adhar and better services through DBT like programs

Negative impacts

  • Phenomenon of 'Post Truth' politics-wherein debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion, disconnected from the details of policy and by repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.(e.g. referendums like Brexit, US elections etc.)
  • Hero worshiping has penetrated politics due to social media wherein personal charisma of a leader takes precedence over competence in determining his/her popularity.
  • Group think and stronger group identities along with luxury of anonymity has increased crimes and spewing of hate towards minorities, women etc.


  • Limited sensory experience of cyber space, dis-inhibiting effect due to anonymity etc. distorts perceptions of individuals. Psychologists help develop rational perspective.
  • Diffusion of technological divide- motivating people towards digital literacy.
  • Designing Ergonomics of upcoming technology for easier user interface to increase inclusivity
  • Boosting Computer aided distance learning courses by enabling learners to seamlessly adapt to IT. Psychologists can recommend audio visuals, memory aids, learning techniques and pedagogy, which when incorporated in IT enabled courses can provide effective learning outcomes.
  • Cultural values being antagonistic to beliefs and values spawned by IT revolution has created confusion and disenchantment leading to irrational cognitions. Rational Emotive Therapies and graded exposure can be used by psychologists to overcome the barriers.
  • Net democracy providing level playing field to one and all, leading to antisocial movements as well, caused by psychological distress in a different area. Psychologists need to identify such cases by correct attribution and providing better outlets to such distress.
  • Techno-phobia which leads to anxiety and a negative attitude towards IT, creating roadblocks in daily efficiency, needs to be overcome with the help of psychological therapies of breaking a mental block and improving adaptation.
  • Treating internet addiction and suicidal/antisocial tendencies caused by addictive internet games (e.g. Blue Whale).
  • Cautioning people about phenomena like 'Post Truth' and 'Group Think' to enable netizens use the virtual world to greater advancement of mankind.

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