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Linda Durnell, PhD - Fielding Graduate University. Silicon Valley, CA, US

Linda Durnell, PhD Linda Durnell, PhD

Adjunct Faculty - Media Psychology | Fielding Graduate University

Silicon Valley, CA, UNITED STATES

Virtual Reality, Media Psychology and Social Change





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Linda Durnell, PhD is a media psychologist, researcher and educator. Dr. Durnell’s current research is on the Emotional Reactions of Viewing a Crisis in Virtual Reality (VR), which she presented at Stanford’s 3rd Annual Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health: Virtual Reality and Behavior Change as well as the VR and Healthcare Symposium at Harvard Medical School.

As adjunct faculty at Fielding Graduate University, Dr. Durnell teaches graduate students the “Psychology of Technology.”

Dr. Durnell works with technology and non-profit organizations in Silicon Valley. She also works with the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and Joint Staff (SMA) to assess options in the cognitive space to disrupt and counter ISIL operational capabilities. In addition, she trains Psychological Operations (PO) operators.

Durnell is a frequent presenter at technology (AWE) and psychology conferences (APA) and public lectures on the topics of virtual reality for social change, and how technology affects human behavior.

Dr. Durnell brings research and resources to industry-defining technology used to facilitate change in our approach to healthcare.

Industry Expertise (5)



Professional Training and Coaching


Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (8)

AR/VR/AI and Robotics

Immersive Technology for Social Change

Media and Consulting



Consumer Neuroscience

Virtual Reality (VR) for medical/clinical /healthcare applications

Technology for Conflict Management

Accomplishments (1)

(2016) Michael R. Neal Legacy Scholarship (professional)

The Michael R. Neal Legacy Award is given annually to one doctoral candidate who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, media innovation and collaboration with and support of fellow media scholars.

Education (3)

Fielding Graduate Institute: Doctoral Candidate (2017), Media Psychology

Concentration: Social Impact of Mobile Media and Immersive Technology Dissertation Topic: The Emotional Reaction of Experiencing a Crisis in Virtual Reality (VR)

Fielding Graduate University: MA, Media Psychology 2015

University of Washington: BA, Communications 1981

Affiliations (13)

  • American Psychology Association (APA) Division 46: Psychology & Technology : Member
  • Virtual World Society (VWS) : Member
  • VR/AR Association (VRARA) : Member
  • International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) : Member
  • Women's High Tech Coalition Washington DC : Member
  • Advancement Board at West Valley and Mission Colleges : Member
  • Apple Computer Alumni Group : Member
  • University of Washington Alumni Organization : Member
  • University of Washington Department of Global Health Initiatives : Member
  • VR for Good
  • Women in VR
  • Brainstorm: The Laboratory for Brain Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Virtual World Society

Event Appearances (7)

Visceral VR: How VR is Impacting Social Change

(June 2017) Augmented World Expo (AWE)  Santa Clara, CA

The Psychology of Immersive Design

(2017) Digital Hollywood  Los Angeles, CA

Racial and Ethnic Tensions: From Public Discourse to Community Action

(2017) Grant project for The Kettering Foundation  Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA

The State of Media Psychology Roundtable: Narrative and Violence

(2017) Panel discussion  Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA

Disruption for Good

(2016) Digital Hollywood / Fielding Panel on Digital Media  Marina Del Rey, CA

The Human Factor in Immersive Interfaces

(2016) Digital Hollywood / Panel Discussion  Los Angeles, CA

The Neuroscience of Immersive Technology

(2016) Digital Hollywood / Panel Discussion  Los Angeles, CA

Research Focus (1)

Social Impact of Mobile Media and Immersive Technology

This research hopes to contribute to the nascent virtual reality (VR) technology research by highlighting the importance of knowing what emotional reactions occur in response to a VR experience--specifically, understanding how VR shapes people's perspectives toward crisis and what emotions can be aroused may help design better solutions, increase aid/donations, bring awareness to crises, and assist people to make better decisions in response to crisis.

Courses (1)

Media Psychology Certificate with Emphasis in Media Neuroscience

Enter the emerging field of Media Neuroscience! In addition to expanding your career potential, you will be equipped to enter the emerging field of media neuroscience, which investigates the effects media has on people’s brains. This relatively new knowledge has radically transformed our understanding of persuasion, media effect, and content engagement. An estimated 200 companies around the world now offer neuromarketing research services.

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Articles (5)

What Do Others Think and How Do We Know What They Are Thinking?

(March 2018) Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) Periodic Publication

L. Durnell

No details available.

The Role of VR/360° in Promoting Behavioral Change

(March 2018) Harvard Medical School

L. Durnell

No details available.

Viewing a Crisis in VR: A Different Approach to Behavioral Change

(October 2017) Innovations in Psychiatry and Behavioral Health/Stanford Medical School

L. Durnell

Durnell's research poster presentation is on "Viewing a Crisis In VR: A Different Approach to Behavioral Change." This symposium will include discussions of virtual and augmented reality innovations and resources that are most likely to change the field including, but not limited to: emerging therapies and devices, impactful combinations of existing treatments with virtual reality, and models for how clinicians may collaborate on these innovations with computer scientists and engineers. Notably, teaching techniques at the symposium will include speakers, posters, and an innovation lab, in which attendees will present solutions to challenges and engage in experiential learning to improve upon ideas in real-time through expert feedback and interaction.

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Parents on the Front Lines of Youth Radicalization

Huffington Post


Parents do not know—can’t imagine—that their child could become vulnerable to radicalization. Most think this could not happen to their children, but in reality it can and does happen to anyone, anywhere in the world. In fact, it’s already happening on a massive scale.

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News and Periodicals

See list below

Articles featured in The Huffington Post, The Silicon Valley Business Journal, Bay Area Parent, Silicon Valley Business Ink, Art and Antiques (cover article), The Business Journal, and San Jose Mercury News, to date.