Ram to address 'screenomics' at 2020 Pattishall Research Lecture

Nilam Ram, professor of human development and family studies and psychology at Penn State, will present the 2020 Pattishall Research Lecture, “The Human Screenome Project: Studying Digital Behaviors in Daily Life.”

The lecture, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development, will be given at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, in the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building, on the University Park campus. A reception will be held prior to the lecture at 3:30 p.m. in the same location. Both are free and open to the public.

“Screenome” refers to the collective makeup of individuals’ digital experiences. Sceenomics gathers and analyzes detailed, second-by-second data about individuals’ digital activity.

Ram and fellow investigators involved with The Human Screenome Project are exploring how development of screenomics can inform and reshape understanding of a broad array of human behaviors and how they change over time, in the same way that genomics reshaped understanding, prevention, and treatment of different diseases.

“The breadth of life experiences now reflected on our screens, from health and politics to education and interpersonal relations, is astounding,” said Ram, who is also director of the Quantitative Development Systems Methodology Core (QuantDev), part of the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State. “We are developing a technology platform, analysis process, and data repository that facilitates precise mapping of individuals’ digital life via detailed moment-by-moment capture and analysis of the content, actions, and sequences that appear on personal screens — what we call the 'screenome.'”

The Pattishall Research Lecture is delivered each year by the most recent recipient of the Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award, which honors a senior faculty member who has made outstanding research contributions to the field across a major portion of his or her career. The award was established by the late Evan Pattishall, who served as dean of the former College of Human Development, and his wife, Helen.