Summary of The Psychology of the Internet

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  • Overview


This is an early attempt to analyze Internet psychology. Patricia M. Wallace uses established psychological research - where it applies - to lay the foundation for understanding Internet psychology. Wherever possible, she cites contemporary Internet psychology research in presenting her opinions and conclusions; the problem is that there isn’t any. She finds very few compelling Internet research studies, and she’s the one who knows where to look. This book is just a little early out of the dock. The Internet is evolving so quickly that discussion of research conducted on Usenet groups already seems quaint. recommends this book to people who want a general psychological review of the impact of the Internet. However, the same lightening-fast change that makes these questions so fascinating also makes it very difficult to pin down the answers.

About the Author

Patricia Wallace is Executive Director of the Center for Knowledge and Information Management at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. She wrote an interactive psychology CD-ROM called PRISM and co-authored the textbook, Introduction to Psychology, Fourth Edition. Dr. Wallace is also the principal investigator on grants from the Annenberg Projects/Corporation for Public Broadcasting dealing with language learning through CD-ROMs and the Internet.



The Internet in a Psychological Context

The Internet is a new environment that can have strong effects on behavior. Since it is relatively new, even its psychological and technical vocabulary is still being established. Hence, a brief glossary to get us started:

  • Asynchronous discussion forum - A communication environment in which participants read and post thoughts on a stated topic area.
  • E-mail - The communication environment of the Internet.
  • Internet Relay Chat or IRC - A specialized form of synchronous chat directly between two people (a stronghold of the subscription service, America Online).
  • Metaworlds - The loose term for the transformation of MUD communication environments into multimedia communication environments.
  • Multi-user dungeons or MUD - This acronym, devised for the Dungeons and Dragons game, is now used for online gaming, virtual reality environments. Live Internet-based interactive video and voice is a psychologically powerful yet young communication environment. Over time, because of the addition of sight and sound, it may change the nature of Internet psychology.
  • Newsgroups - An older form of asynchronous...

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