by Patricia Wallace
264 pages paperback
Psychology of the Internet
This book by Patricia Wallace came out just as I was developing my course "Psychology of Multimedia" for 12 students. I didn't bother buying it because I wanted to write and research from scratch.
I finally got around to reading it last month.
Psychology is one of those subjects which makes you aware of stuff you know already. Like economics, it organises the facts and makes you contemplate.
Online persona: what's in a name? everything. Most people choose their e-mail address using their real names. Some, like me, choose their interests. Others select a pseudo name which could be their alter ego.
Online masks: it's easy to masquerade on the Internet. My students first introduced the term avatars.
Altruism: surprisingly this is rampant on the Internet. Their are support groups for different ailments and diseases, including help for the unemployed. You could ask a question which could get an answer. Why are people altruistic?
Interpersonal attraction: opposites don't attract. Rather, people with similar interests do. However, without the ability to see each other (unless you have a huge photo album like analyticalQ) it's hard to get the physical attraction. The most important thing in interpersonal communication/relationship development in real life is physical attraction. Without it, on the Internet, you have to rely on other things.
Tragedy of the commons: people download huge files during their lunch or dinner breaks and hog bandwidth. There are all sorts of behaviour which individually are beneficial but collectively are destructive.
Anonymity and accountability: when you can be both anonymous and not accountable, you can be fickle and unreliable!!! So the question becomes - how do you get commitment? Answer: make them register and pay!!!
4 October 2002 Friday
Psychology of Multimedia Course developed and taught by Anne Ku
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