Sherry Turkle

July 11, 2009

Dr. Turkle is Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self and Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology.

Born in New York City, Sherry Turkle did her undergraduate work at Radcliffe college, studied with the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and received a joint doctorate in Sociology and Personality Psychology from Harvard University in 1976. She is a graduate and affiliate member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and a licensed clinical psychologist.

Dr. Turkle has written numerous articles on psychoanalysis and culture and on the “subjective side” of people’s relationships with technology, especially computers. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud’s French Revolution (Basic Books, 1978; MIT Press paper, 1981; second revised edition, Guilford Press, 1992) and The Second Self: Computers and the HumanSpirit (Simon and Schuster, 1984; Touchstone paper, 1985; second revised edition, MIT Press, forthcoming).

Her most recent book, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (Simon and Schuster, November 1995; Touchstone paperback, 1997) explored the psychology of computer-mediated communication on the Internet. It was featured in the January 1997 issue of Wired, the November/December 1995 The Sciences, and the Winter 1996 American Prospect. Dr. Turkle’s current research is about the psychological impact of computational objects as they become increasingly “relational” artifacts. She is studying a range of objects, from “affective computers” to robotic dolls and pets.

Dr. Turkle has pursued her work on the computer culture with support from the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She co-chairs the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation’s Commission on Technology, Gender, and Teacher Education and is a member of the Harvard University Visiting Committee on Information Technology.

In January, 1985, she was named one of Ms.Magazine’s “Women of the Year” for 1984. She was selected for Esquire Magazine’s 1985 Registry of “America’s New Leadership Class.” In 1995 she was selected as a member of Newsweek Magazine’s “50 for the Future: the Most Influential People to Watch in Cyberspace.” In 1997 she was a selected member of “Computer 200″ for the Association of Computing Machinery’s 50th Anniversary, and TimeDigital Magazine named her one of the top 50 Cyber Elite.

Her work on computers and people has been widely written about in both the academic and popular press, including Scientific American, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, People, and USA Today. Dr. Turkle was featured on the cover of the April 1996 Wired and the February/March 1996 Technology Review.

In 1998 she was profiled in the April issue of Scientific American and the June 18th New York Times. She has spoken about the psychological and cultural impact of the computer as a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including Nightline, The Today Show, 20/20, CBS Morning News, NBC Nightly News, Dateline, CBS Evening News and The Jane Pauley Show.

See essays by this author:
Cyborg Babies and Cy-Dough-Plasm
Whither Psychoanalysis in a Computer Culture?
See selected books by this author:
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet
Simulation and its Discontents
THE AGE OF INTELLIGENT MACHINES | Growing Up in the Age of Intelligent Machines: Reconstructions of the Psychological and Reconsiderations of the Human