Cyber Influence on Behavior Change: Prevalence, Predictors, Progress and Prevention

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Create and release your Profile on Zintellect – Postdoctoral applicants must create an account and complete a profile in the on-line application system.  Please note: your resume/CV may not exceed 2 pages.

Complete your application – Enter the rest of the information required for the IC Postdoc Program Research Opportunity. The application itself contains detailed instructions for each one of these components: availability, citizenship, transcripts, dissertation abstract, publication and presentation plan, and information about your Research Advisor co-applicant.

Additional information about the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program is available on the program website located at:

If you have questions, send an email to  Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email. 

Application Deadline
2/28/2020 6:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

Research Topic Description, including Problem Statement:

The aim of this project is to understand and forecast the impact of cyberspace on changes in human behavior, which has implications for social and political outcomes. Social cyber security has been identified as a key area where social behavioral science (SBS) can exchange knowledge and contribute to issues and challenges for the IC1.Core research areas for SBS are, how cyber may mediate behavior change and the boundary conditions to such influence (‘when and for whom’). Recently developed models of social influence that draw, in particular, on group-level identity processes tied to common interests, belonging and shared norms. A key step forward would be to investigate the applicability of these models to cyber and their implications for actual behavior change in the ‘real-world’.

Key questions are whether 1) existing models of social influence translate straightforwardly to the cyber environment and if not, how to redefine them accordingly and 2) cyber influence does have a direct relationship to behavior and when this is most likely to occur. This research area is of broad scope and interest with potential to form a much larger research enterprise.

Example Approaches:

Proposals could consider the following approaches or perspectives:

  • Investigate the personal and social characteristics of users (strengths and vulnerabilities) that are most and least likely to be cyber influenced.
  • Identify and demonstrate through experimental studies key factors that facilitate and disrupt cyber influence on users’ behavior.
  • Understand the factors that escalate the success of cyber influence to widespread behavior.
  • Explore methods that can prepare and inoculate users to cyber influence tactics and assess their success.
  • Examine the underlying personal and social motivations that underpin certain areas of cyber influence including extremism and promoting actions that present security threats.

Relevance to the Intelligence Community:

Much human activity is occurring in cyber space. Developing better models of cyber influence will aid the Intelligence Community in being able to understand, track, and predict events.


National Academies of Sciences; Engineering; and Medicine. (2019). A Decadal Survey of the Social and Behavioral Sciences: A Research Agenda for Advancing Intelligence Analysis. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Key Words: Social Influence, Persuasion, Coercion, Social Cyber Security, Narratives, Behavior Change, Cyber-Medicated Changes


Postdoc Eligibility

  • U.S. citizens only
  • Ph.D. in a relevant field must be completed before beginning the appointment and within five years of the application deadline
  • Proposal must be associated with an accredited U.S. university, college, or U.S. government laboratory
  • Eligible candidates may only receive one award from the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program

Research Advisor Eligibility

  • Must be an employee of an accredited U.S. university, college or U.S. government laboratory
  • Are not required to be U.S. citizens
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (2 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (16 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (45 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (10 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Physics (16 )
    • Science & Engineering-related (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (27 )