Pani was born in Iran, spending her first ten years growing up in post-revolutionary Iran under Khomeini’s Government. Her family immigrated to Aotearoa in 1991, where they settled in Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore. Pani always had a strong sense of social justice. Even in her teens she often questioned the status quo and could see that our world was set up in a way that privileged some groups over others.

Pani carried out her tertiary studies at The University of Auckland, where she ultimately graduated with a PhD in Psychology in 2011. Between 2011-2019 Pani was part of the Psychology Department at Auckland University of Technology, where she developed a hugely successful research and teaching programme. In July 2019, Pani joined The School of Public Engagement at The New School University in New York City as an Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology.

One of Pani’s main passions in life is teaching, and encouraging her students to think deeply and critically about the world we live in, how it shapes who we are and what we do. Her work spans teaching, research and postgraduate supervision, but goes beyond into politics, community outreach, advocacy and social justice work.

She is a frequent media commentator on issues related to psychology, sex, sexuality, gender and intimate relationships and was selected as a TEDx speaker in 2016. Between 2017-2018 she was a regular guest on RadioLive with Mark Sainsbury with a segment called “Psych Talk with Dr Pani Farvid”. In 2017, she was a presenter and expert advisor on “Married at First Sight NZ”.

Professional Life:

Pani’s core professional role is a Psychology Academic. Her work examines the intersection of gender, power, culture, technology, sexuality and identity – largely focusing on gender equality, the psychology of heterosexuality, casual sex, sexual violence, online dating, mobile dating, mass media and the global sex industry. Her work is typically underpinned by theories of social justice and social change, specifically focused on promoting egalitarianism within hetero/sexuality as well as gender equality, more broadly.

Current projects:

  • Working with marginalized populations (e.g., refugees, immigrants, non-binary, LGBTQI+, ethnic/racial minorities) in order to foster equity and social justice.
  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • The primary prevention of gender inequality and sexism (including gender-based/sexual violence)
  • Emerging social issues in gender, sexuality, technology and intimacy (e.g., mobile dating, online sex work, “sugar dating”, AI and human intimacies, robot sex).
  • The politics of Sex Work
  • Domestic sex trafficking (NZ, US and UK)
  • Applied ethics and moral psychology (as applied to the online domain)
  • Contemporary shifts in intimate life (within the West and within Iran)
  • Methodological developments in psychology
  • Pani’s research seeks to identify contemporary forms of inequality, with a view to change such power relations through individual, social or policy interventions.