Psychology and the Internet (Second Edition)

Chapter 1 – The Internet in Context, Pages 11-33, Evelyn Ellerman
Abstract
Summary
The Internet has changed considerably from its early adoption by business and the general public as a means of locating and exchanging information. These days it is increasingly difficult to name a communication function that our email programs, web browsers, cell phones, MP3 players, and Internet games cannot perform. We are daily “wow-ed” and often “cow-ed” by the seemingly endless shapes this technology is able to assume. But whether delighted or dismayed, our individual and collective responses to the Internet fall into recognizable patterns conditioned by our historical relations to technology. This chapter examines these responses, which are grounded in events that occurred over 500 years ago, but which continue to shape our attitudes to innovation, our belief in individual freedom, and our uneasy relations with the machine. It also suggests that any critical perspective on the functions that Internet technologies have played (or might play) in the new media landscape must be informed by a clear grasp of communication history.

Part I: Intrapersonal
Chapter 2 – Children and the Internet, Pages 37-54, Connie K. Varnhagen
Abstract
Summary
The Internet is a vast virtual environment. Children can access a wealth of information on subjects ranging from acne to zebras. They can communicate with others from around the world, sharing their experiences and interests while breaking down cultural barriers. They can listen to music from around the world, watch awardwinning public service announcements, and play games that test their skill and coordination. Children can also access pornography, hate, and terrorism. In addition, children are vulnerable to sexual solicitation and predation and cyber-bullying and harassment. How do we help them access the cognitively and culturally enhancing aspects of the Internet while, at the same time, protecting them from the dark side of the Internet?

Chapter 3 – Self Online: Personality and Demographic Implications, Pages 55-73, Jayne Gackenbach, Heather von Stackelberg
Abstract
Summary
Like all other communications technologies, the advent of the Internet has changed our culture profoundly, but it has also had a strong influence on how we relate to ourselves as well as to each other. It has allowed us to be authentically ourselves or to try on and try out different identities and personalities in ways that are just not possible in face-to-face reality, with both positive and negative effects. The narrow bandwidth of communication, including the lack of visual cues, allows us to relate to others without the judgments of their physical presence which happens in face-to-face communication, but also allows disinhibition, in the form of greater disclosure, sexual content, and aggression. The Internet can create greater self-awareness and become a catalyst for positive change, or it can reinforce maladaptive facets of ourselves.

Chapter 4 – Disinhibition and the Internet, Pages 75-92, Adam N. Joinson
Chapter 5 – The Psychology of Sex: A Mirror from the Internet, Pages 93-139, Raymond J. Noonan
Chapter 6 – Internet Addiction: Does It Really Exist? (Revisited), Pages 141-163, Laura Widyanto, Mark Griffiths

Part II: Interpersonal
Chapter 7 – Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication for Work, Community, and Learning, Pages 167-185, Caroline Haythornthwaite, Anna L. Nielsen
Abstract
Summary
The debates about the usefulness and appropriateness of computer-mediated communication (CMC) are well known. Arguments against CMC highlight the way the reduced cues of the environment make it ill-suited for building trust, close friendships, and complex relationships. At the same time, arguments for CMC celebrate the liberation from cues associated with offline bodies, personae, status, and gender (e.g., Turkle, 1995; for reviews of debates about CMC, [Culnan and Markus, 1987], [Haythornthwaite, et al, 1998] and [Herring, 2002]. More recently debate has moved to the societal level, but still centers on the same dichotomy. One side argues that time online is time taken from real relationships, while the other extols the benefits of online relationships and communities (Nie, 2001) and (Kraut, et al, 1998); for reviews of debates about the Internet, [Boase and Wellman, 2005], [DiMaggio, et al, 2001], [Haythornthwaite and Wellman, 2002] and [Wellman, et al, 1996].

Chapter 8 – The Virtual Society: Its Driving Forces, Arrangements, Practices, and Implications, Pages 187-219, Conrad Shayo, Lorne Olfman, Alicia Iriberri, Magid Igbaria
Abstract
Summary
During the last decade, the adjective “virtual” has become a commonplace descriptor of social forms where people do not have to live, meet, or work face to face in order to create goods and services or maintain significant social relationships. There are specialized literatures about these new social forms, such as virtual corporations, virtual organizations, virtual communities, virtual libraries, and virtual classrooms, as well as related practices such as e-commerce, e-business, telecommuting, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), tele-education, teleconferencing, telemedicine, telemarketing, and teledemocracy. There is general agreement in the literature that the profound impact of information technology (IT)1 and its rapid adoption by individuals, groups, organizations, and communities has given rise to the proliferation of “virtual societies.” While computer networks figure frequently as enablers and shapers of virtual societies, other kinds of information and communication technologies, including paper mail, telephone, and fax, also play roles in linking and establishing relationships between people and groups (Woolgar, 2002). Although some of the literature celebrates the flexibility and enhanced possibilities of these new forms of “virtual social life,” there are also important critical empirical studies of specific virtual social forms that examine the possible losses.

Chapter 9 – Internet Self-Help and Support Groups: The Pros and Cons of Text-Based Mutual Aid, Pages 221-244, Storm A. King, Danielle Moreggi
Abstract
Summary
The Internet is anarchy. No one owns it, no one controls it, and no government can exert political authority over it. There are no precedents for the types of social changes that the Internet is bringing. In just the last decade, the Internet has gone from being the domain of academics, the tech-savvy, and mostly male-dominated, to being an essential part of most individual life and all businesses in the United States. The significant difference between the Internet and all previous communication technologies is that the Internet is an unregulated “from many to many” broadcasting paradigm.

Chapter 10 – Cyber Shrinks: Expanding the Paradigm, Pages 245-273, Joanie Farley Gillispie
Abstract
Summary
The mental health profession is unprepared that within a few years there may be as many people seeking professional counseling over the Internet as there are looking for it face-to-face (Alleman, 2002, p. 199).

Part III: Transpersonal
Chapter 11 – From Mediated Environments to the Development of Consciousness II, Pages 277-307, Joan M. Preston
Abstract
Summary
New media have developed rapidly with advancements in technology and software, and the way we conceptualize media continues to change. The notion of television as a “magic window” is outdated. Films, video games, and virtual reality installations manipulate and simulate creatures, actions, and places in what we typically refer to as “mediated environments.” To understand how a flat screen can be seen as a place, the orists and researchers have turned to Gibson’s (1979) ecological theory of perception. Gibson asked how an aware, mobile organism functions in its environment. He explains how we perceive not only natural environments, but static and moving visuals as well. As we will see, our environment provides visual and spatial information essential to the development of awareness. If we accept the view that thought is based in abstract visual-spatial imagery, the media may play a role in the development of consciousness. Can mediated environments be created that take us beyond self-referential awareness to transcendence?

Chapter 12 – World Wide Brain: Self-Organizing Internet Intelligence as the Actualization of the Collective Unconscious, Pages 309-335, Ben Goertzel
Abstract
Summary
Anyone who has had the privilege to give birth, or to watch someone else give birth, knows what a wonderful, exciting, magical event it is. And this is so even when, as in the birth of a human, the organism being born has very little new about it—it is “just” a replication, with variations, of already existing creatures. How much more tremendous and dramatic, then, is the birth of an entirely new kind of intelligent organism—a new kind of consciousness, extending and, in some regards, improving on our own?

Chapter 13 – The Internet and Higher States of Consciousness—A Transpersonal Perspective, Pages 337-360, Jayne Gackenbach, Jim Karpen
Abstract
Summary
The chapters in this book explore a range of aspects of the Internet2, from its impacts on our sense of self through explorations of new social realities to its possible role in establishing a more tightly coupled field of intellectual and social interaction, perhaps viewed as a global brain (see Chapter 12). All of these help us to understand what this new entity means, and what its impact and future will be. Similarly, in this chapter, we view the same goal but through a different lens: that of consciousness. >

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