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Michael Snell

Ph.D. Candidate
Senior UX Researcher, Verizon

Michael Snell 

In addition to being a PhD candidate, I have 2 years’ full-time industry experience and 6 years’ consulting experience. 

My Research Identity
As a computational social scientist at heart, my core ethos can be summarized as follows: "
Build meaningful relationships. Treat time as a precious resource. Ask the right questions." I have a special passion for understanding people—their behaviors, beliefs, interests, goals, routines, and relationships— and for applying that understanding to the technologies that shape our lives. 

Most recently at Verizon as a Senior UX Researcher, I specialize in blending quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to support evidence-based decision-making in consumer-facing product organizations. Over the last 2 years, I have established a program of continuous research for Verizon’s global fleet compliance products. I also lead end-to-end research on telematics hardware and driver safety initiatives, and am involved with a high-level strategic project to define the 3-5 year north star vision for Reveal, Verizon’s suite of commercial fleet SaaS products.

I have experience aligning research and product roadmaps, translating research into business objectives, creating standards for research communication, establishing UX metrics, managing programs of research that range from foundational to evaluative, and working with large and diverse cross-functional teams which include engineers, designers, etc. My research methods include: surveys, interviews, complex statistical analyses (R), experiments, participatory design, diary studies, contextual inquiry, moderated and unmoderated usability testing, prototyping, and concept testing.



M.S., Psychology, University of Georgia
PhD Candidate, Psychology, University of Georgia

Research Interests:

I specialize in psychometric approaches to the study of human-computer interaction, with a primary focus on the collection, integration, and interpretation of information distributed across multiple sources and measures of individual behavior. I am especially interested in the marriage of structured and unstructured data, such as between natural language, direct behavioral measures, and longitudinal surveys. For example, prior research has leveraged user-generated text, user profile characteristics, and self-report measures of risky behavior in order to examine health-relevant decision-making on location-based dating applications. Other projects have explored the contextual determinants of music preferences on streaming platforms like Spotify and the emergence of group norms through language use on social media. One of my utmost goals as a career scientist is to advocate for rigorous cross-functional and multidisciplinary collaboration in research, both in basic and applied settings. In practice, this means approaching knowledge gaps with the right questions, building cultures of shared ownership over research processes, and communicating for impact.  


President's Venture Fund 

Dissertation/Thesis Title:
An Imperfect Shadow: Personality in the Virtual World
Anchoring of Archetypes: An Integrative Account of Social Identity and Personality in an Era of Data Abundance
Degree Completion Date:
  • Psychometrics
  • Scale Construction
  • Personality and Personality Coherence 
  • Data Integration
  • Technology
  • Research Processes
  • Research Communication



Selected Publications:

Antwine, R. D., Snell, M. R., & Campbell, W. K. (2018, March). The vision we share: Political narratives, moral values, and utopia. Presented at meeting of Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Atlanta.

Eiler, B. A., Doyle, P. C., Snell, M. R., & Al-Kire, R. L. (2018, June). Mixed media methodology: Using tech to explore social problems. Accepted for presentation at meeting of Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Pittsburgh.

McCain, J. L., Weiler, P., Snell, M. R., & Campbell, W. K. (In review). Narcissism and online activism.

Snell, M.R., Campbell, W.K. (2018). The dopamine hypothesis of social media. Manuscript in preparation.

Snell, M.R., Campbell, W.K. (In review). Grindr profiles, implicit user motivations, and risky behavior: Implications for app design.

Snell, M.R., Campbell, W.K., McCain, J., Weiler, P., Siedor, L. (2017). Personality in the virtual world: Invariance, means, and a sketch of a discontents model. Manuscript in review. 

Snell, M.R., Pugh, D.T., Campbell, W.K. (2019). Sound and self: The role of music preferences in reducing discrepancies between the actual and ideal self. Accepted for presentation at annual meeting of Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Portland.

Snell, M.R. (2018, March). On society and its discontents: A prospective theory of human behavior in virtual worlds. Presented at meeting of Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Atlanta.

Snell, M.R. (2017). An imperfect shadow: Personality in the virtual world (master’s thesis). University of Georgia, Athens, United States.

Snell, M.R. (2017). Health-related outcomes of the great digital migration: A meta-analysis of life course research. Presented at Integrative Research and Ideas Symposium, Athens.   

Snell, M.R. (2017, January). Grindr: Relationship pursuits, sexually risky behavior, and authenticity in the early mobile broadband age. Presented at meeting of Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio.

Snell, M.R. (2017). Personality invariance in the virtual world. Presented at meeting of Psychology of Technology Institute, Berkeley.   

Snell, M.R. (2018). The great domain shift in human behavior: Assessing the lexical hypothesis in the digital age. Manuscript in Preparation.  

Weiler, P., McCain, J. L., McLane, W. L., Snell, M. R., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Personality and minecraft: An exploratory study of the big five and narcissism. Manuscript in preparation.

Articles Featuring Michael Snell
Sunday, January 6, 2019 - 11:21am

BBS Graduate student Michael Snell received a prestigious UX Research internship with Facebook. He will be working in Menlo Park, California for 12 weeks this summer. Congratulations Michael!

Major Professor

Committee Members

Professor Emeritus

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