Monica Whitty Profile

BA (Psychology), Macquarie University, Australia 1989Monica Whitty

Honours in Psychology, Macquarie University, Australia 1990

Ph.D (psychology), Macquarie University, Australia, 2000

Professor of Contemporary Media


Telephone:0116 2297329




Career Experience

I am a cyberpsychologist. I began my career in academia in Australia, where I worked as an associate lecturer in the School of Psychology at Macquarie University (1995-1996). I then took up a tenured appointment as a senior lecturer in the School of Applied, Social and Human Sciences, at the University of Western Sydney (1998-2003). Next I decided to move to the UK and took up an appointment as a lecturer in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast. In 2007 I moved to England and took up an appointment in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University and was promoted to a Reader in Psychology (2008-2010).

I recently took up a Chair in Contemporary Media here in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester.

Research Interests

My current research predominantly focuses on Internet relating (both the liberating and debilitating aspects). I have carried out research on the following topic areas: Online dating, cyberflirting and cybersex, Internet infidelity, Online identities, video games, online scams (e.g., romance scam), misrepresentation of the self across different modes of communication, online trust, availability of social support online, cyberstalking, Internet privacy, security and surveillance issues and cyber-ethics.


PhD scholarship: (start Oct 2013, applications due May):

Candidate will need to select a specific online crime and:

  1. examine society’s attitude towards this crime
  2. investigate the type of person who is more likely to commit this crime, and
  3. examine their motivations for committing this crime.

(This particular scholarship is a GRA position).

Details found here:


Current Research Grants

mTrust: A low cost inclusive m-commerce solution for high street and online trusted traders.

2013: (£49,460). This is a 6 month project supported by the Technology Strategy Board where we will define, design and implement operational hardware to protective individuals from fraudulent transactions using their mobile phones. PI: John Weightman. Co-I's: Monica Whitty, Tony Allen, David Brown.

Corporate Insider Threat Detection: Cyber Security Inside and Out

2012-2015: (£1.6 million, £301,439 to Leicester). It is widely recognised that the threat to enterprises from insider activities is increasing and that significant costs are being incurred. The multi-faceted dimensions of insider threat and compromising actions have resulted in a diverse experience and understanding of what insider threats are and how to detect or prevent them. The purpose of this research is to investigate the potential for near real-time detection of insider threat activities within a large enterprise environment using monitoring tools centred around the information infrastructure. As inside threat activities are not confined solely to cyber-based threats, the research will explore the potential for harnessing a variety of threat indicators buried in a different enterprise operations connected or interfacing with the information infrastructure, while enabling human analysts to make informed decisions efficiently and effectively. Details of the project can be found on this page:

PI: Professor Sadie Creese (University of Oxford). Co-I's: Prof. Monica Whitty, Prof. Michael Goldsmith (University of Oxford), Prof. Min Chen (University of Oxford), Prof. David Upton (University of Oxford), Prof. Michael Levi (University of Cardiff).


SID: An Exploration of Super-Identity

2011- 2014: This is a three-year inter-disciplinary research project funding by EPSRC (£1.85 million total, £363,101 to The University of Leicester). The SuperID project will run from October 2011 to October 2014. The project examines physical and cyber identities across domains. Details of the project can be found on this page:

The SID project involves a number of UK and US institutions including: University of Southampton, University of Bath, University of Oxford, University of Kent, University of Dundee and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Mr James Doodson is the  Research Associative at Leicester on this project.


This project has been extended to March 2015.


Development of the Online Romance Scam toolkits for the Public Sector (ES/J010863/1)

2012-2013: This 'follow on' project funded by the ESRC (£96,931). The project, headed by Professor Whitty aims to: create two tool kits: 1) to train police to improve policing practice with regards to dealing with victims of the online romance scam; 2) change the way victims are treated when they give statements as witnesses in court. More information can be found on the following webpage: Online Romance Scam Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty. Co-researcher: Tom Buchanan.

Previous Research Grants

ESCON Expert Meeting Scheme

2012: European experts in the areas of morality and the Internet met to develop collaborative projects. (€8,050). Principal Investigator: Dr roger Giner-Sorolla. Co-investigators: Dr. Friederike Eyssel, Dr. Tobias Greitmeyer, Professor Mark Griffiths, Dr. Tilo Hartmann, Dr. Maria-Paola Padadino, Professor Jochen Peter, Dr. David Smahel, Mr Brian Spisak, Dr. Jeroen Vaes, Professor Mark van Vugt & Professor Monica Whitty.

An Examination of the Online Romance Scam (RES-000-22-4022)

2010-2011: This was a one-year research project funded by ESRC (£99,442). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined the typology of victims of this crime, the persuasive techniques employed by the scammers, and the psychological impact this crime has on the victims. More information can be found about this on the following webpage: Online Dating Romance Scam Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty Co-researcher: Tom Buchanan.

Final report


Knowledge about the Romance Scam

2011: This was a college funds bid funded by The University of Leicester (£1320). This project, headed by Professor Whitty,  paid for a YouGov survey, which examined the number of people who are scammed by the online dating romance scam in Great Britain. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty.

Learning more about Human Behaviour with regards to IT Monitoring and Security of data

2010: This was a six-month project supported by a SIS grant (£9,951). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, conducted a literature review of the psychological literature available on IT security. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty. Co-investigator: Mr Andy Kayes (Company: Nexor).

Are there morals in cyberspace? A Pilot Study Examining the Psychological Consequences of engaging in certain behaviours in MMORGPs.

2009-2010: This was an eight-month project supported by a Nuffield grant (£3,897). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined the psychological impact of engaging in symbolic taboo activies (STAs) in MMORGPs. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty. Co-investigator: Garry Young.

Deception and Trust on Online Dating Sites

2008: This was an overseas conference grant funded by the British Academy (£200). This was for a paper titled 'Deception and Trust on Online Dating Sites' presented at CHI in Florence, Italy. Author: Monica Whitty.

Me, My Spouse and the Internet

2008-2009: This is an ongoing project funded by eharmony. During my involvement the project was sponsered by eharmony (£150,000). The project uses survey data from the UK and countries across the globe to look at the significance and impact of the Internet on intimate relationships, including how people use ICTs to meet each other and maintain relationships, and how ICTs affect their behaviour. For more information go to the projects web page: Me, My Spouse and the Internet Principal Investigator: Bill Dutton. Co-researchers: Monica Whitty and Ellen Helsper. Link to a podcost related to the project: You've Got Mail

Deception across Different Modes of Communication

2007-2008: This was a one-year project supported by the British Academy (£6,274). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined in which modes of communication people are more likely to tell planned lies and spontaneous lies. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty. co-investigators: Tom Buchanan & Adam Joinson.

Eating Behaviours of the Elderly

2007-2008. This was a one-year project supported by Queen's Univeristy Belfast (£10,000). The project, headed by Dr. Appleton, examined healthy eating by elderly people. Principal Investigator: Katherine Appleton. Co-researcher: Monica Whitty.

Integrating of Eye-tracking technology and an Internet training package to assist children with Asperger's Syndrome.

2005-2007: This was a PhD scholarship supported by the ESF. Professor Whitty wrote the grant and was originally the primary supervisor.

Preventing Cyberstalking: A National Investigation into the use of Electronic Communications to Cyberstalk

2003-2004: This was a one-year project supported by the Australian Criminology Research Council ($42,000 Australian dollars). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined how cyberstalking is initiated, the psychological impact this crime has on victims, the strategies victims use to cope, and the typology of the victims. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty.

Love Online: An examination of the progression of romantic relationships that initiate through an Australian Online Dating Agency.

2002-2003: This was a one-year project supported by a UWS Industry partner grant (with RSVP, Australia) ($15,558 Australian dollars). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined successful and unsuccessful presentations of self on online dating sites. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty.

Developing Teaching Materials for Blind People

2001: This was a six-month project supported by a UWS Initiative grant ($1,710 Australian dollars). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined how materials from a social psychology module could be re-developed for blind people. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty.

Subjects on a Disk: Enhancing student equality by providing portable subject materials

2000: This was a six-month project supported by a UWS, Nepean Equity grant ($5,000 Australian dollars). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined equity issues for disabled students and proposed ways forward, using electronic media to support these students. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty. Co-researcher: Ray Archee.

Young Unemployed People's Hopes and Dreams for the Future

1999: This was a six-month project supported by a UWS, Nepean Seed grant ($7,194 Australian dollars). This project, headed by Professor Whitty, examined the aspirations of young unemployed Australians. Principal Investigator: Monica Whitty.



I have written or co-authored 5 books/special issues and produced more than 90 journal papers and articles, book chapters, and other publications. list of publications


Young, G., & Whitty, M. T. (2012). Transcending Taboos: A moral and psychological examination of cyberspace. Routledge.

Whitty, M. T., & Joinson, A. N. (2009). Truth, Lies, and Trust on Internet. London: Routledge, Psychology Press.


Whitty, M. T., Baker, A. J., & Inman, J. A. (Eds.) (2007). Online matchmaking. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Whitty, M. T. & Carr, A. N. (2006). Cyberspace romance: The psychology of online relationships. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (translated into Chinese, Polish and Italian).



Keynotes, invited talks and conference presentations

I have given over 30 keynotes and invited talks and presented over 25 conference presentations

keynote talks etc

Professional Activities

Previous Consultancies

I have undergone consultancies with companies in the UK and abroad. Examples of companies include: A Law firm in the US, Online dating companies (e.g.,,, Red Productions, Surf Control, Zoogin.

I have served on the following government advisory and research boards:

  • 2010: BECTA: Fit for the future panel
  • 2009-2010: UKCCIS Expert Research Panel
  • 2009: International panel advising the Maltese government
  • 2008: Byron Review
  • 2008-present: Internet Gallery Advisory Board for the New Media Museum, Bradford
  • 2003 – 2005: Member of the Advisory Board for

Editorial boards:

  • 2005-2007: Postgraduate Medical Journal
  • 2006-2010: Interpersona (Interdisciplinary Journal on Personal Relationships) (currently co-editor of special issue for this journal)
  • 2005-2008: Social Psychology Review (assistant editor)
  • 2005-2009: International Journal of Education and Development using Information
    and Communication Technology
  • 2007-current: The Psychologist (associate social psychology editor)
  • 2007-current: Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace
  • 2008-current: International Journal of E-Adoption
  • 2006-2007: AOIR newsletter

External examiner:

  • 2012- present: External examiner for the Department of Psychology at Bath University
  • 2007: External examiner for validation of a Masters in CyberPsychology for The Higher Education and Training Awards Council in the Republic of Ireland. This Masters was put forth by the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
  • 2007: Re-validation of BSc Psychology at York St John University.

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Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
132 New Walk
United Kingdom

University of Leicester
107-111 Princess Road East
United Kingdom


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