The International Cyberpsychology and Addictions Research Laboratory (iCARL)

The iCARL group aims to examine the biological, psychological, and social impacts of online behaviours and excessive use of emerging technologies at the individual and societal levels.

The iCARL group is committed to ensuring that theoretical, conceptual, and empirical progresses are made to help advance our knowledge and understanding of how human behaviours take place within the cyberspace. The group is also focused on exploring the psychological, social, and biological underpinnings of behavioural (non-chemical) addictions in the context of excessive technology use.

The research scope of the group is multidisciplinary by nature and draws upon several areas and disciplines such as: individual differences, social psychology, clinical psychology, psychiatry, mental health, wellbeing, cognition, and online marketing.


  • Cyber behaviours including but not limited to: game transfer phenomena, compulsive online buying, online pornography, cyberbullying, trolling, cyberchondria, online support groups, and cyberdating
  • Online self-presentation: image-based social media, ‘influencers’ and status, image-editing and enhancement
  • Online communication: paralinguistic digital affordances
  • Behavioural (non-chemical) addictions, including: gaming disorder, social media addiction, smartphone addiction, gambling disorder, exercise addiction, work addiction
  • Treatment approaches to behavioural addictions


Members of the iCARL are currently working on several national and international research projects in collaboration with different tertiary institutions and organisations in and out of Australia. Current research projects include:

Exploring Gaming Disorder in the context of competitive gaming

This is the largest gaming research project conducted to date and it aims to investigate an international cohort of competitive and non-competitive gamers to find out key risk factors and outcomes of Gaming Disorder. This multidisciplinary project is being conducted in partnership with Electronic Sports League (ESL), University of Ulm (Germany), and Birkbeck, University of London (United Kingdom).

The impact of the relationship between user-avatar on psychological health and wellbeing

This project aims to investigate how in-game avatar choices, customization, and virtual attachment styles affect overall psychological health and wellbeing. This project is being carried out in partnership with Cairnmillar Institute (Australia).

An exploration of image-based social media interactions

The aims of this project are twofold: firstly, to examine the way that users can exert control over their self-presentation on image-based social media, and secondly to determine the mechanisms underpinning the negative effects of exposure to idealised social media imagery.

Group Leader(s)



School of Medicine



Group members

External Research Partners:

Distinguished Professor Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)

Professor Christian Montag (Ulm University, Germany)

Dr. Vladan Starcevic (University of Sydney, Australia)

Dr. Vasileios Stavropoulos (Cairnmillar Institute, Australia)

Dr. Bruno Schivinski (Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom)

Dr. Daria Kuss (Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)

Prof. Zsolt Demetrovics (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)

Dr. Sebastiano Costa (University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Italy)