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Über dieses Buch

Cyberpsychology is an emerging area of psychological study that aims to understand and explain all facets of online behaviour. This book brings together overviews from a number of leading authorities in the field, to suggest how academic theory and research can be applied to a variety of online behaviours. Both positive and negative behaviours are considered, including topics as diverse as parenting the online child, age-related internet usage and cultural considerations in online interactions. Psychological research can no longer view online and offline worlds as different entities, but must consider online behaviours as equally distinct as offline activities. This is especially apparent when looking at online dating, the role that social networks play in organisations and online consumer behaviours, and in a consideration of the role that psychological research plays in underpinning the multi-billion pound gaming industry. Focusing on these personal applications of the Internet, insight is also offered into the role that theory and research plays in training military personnel as well as the use of psychometric testing to select and retain employees.



1. Digital Inclusion and Disability

In this chapter, we will apply cyberpsychological, psychological, and sociological theories to the issue of inclusion in the online world for people with disabilities, a group of individuals often overlooked within society. The use of technology to communicate has become an essential and socially acceptable aspect of most people’s lives and it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the “digital world” and the “real world” (Helsper, 2008; Ritchie & Blanck, 2003). Hence, Digital Inclusion is an increasingly important social issue, reflecting imperatives, opportunities, and considerations about human rights, equity, issues of identity, language, social participation, community and civic engagement, and opportunity pertaining to the digital world (Castells, 1997; Warschauer, 2003).
Darren Chadwick, Caroline Wesson

2. Parenting the Online Child

Children are now living in a multi-media world (Livingstone, 2007) where the online world in particular has its own unique set of risks, such as cyberbullying, grooming, and invasion of privacy (Hasebrink et al., 2009). These online risks bring new parental concerns. Consequently, there has been a host of research which has focused on parental mediation strategies aimed at enhancing children’s experiences of the online world while minimising potential risks. For example, Duerager and Livingstone (2012) show that various different strategies are used by parents across Europe to promote safe use of the Internet. For example, 96% of parents of 9 to 12 years olds report that they do not allow their child to give out personal information to others online and 85% talk to their child about what they do online. It is therefore important to understand what strategies parents are using, what other factors might be related to the degree of use of these strategies and how effective these strategies are at optimising children’s online experiences. This chapter will first discuss theoretical perspectives on categorising parental mediation of children’s Internet use, looking at two different approaches. The focus will then turn to factors which have been found to be associated with the levels and types of strategies used by different parents.
Sally Quinn

3. The Role of Culture in Online Behaviour

When reading the title of this chapter, the question that springs to mind is why think about the role of culture in the applied aspects of online behaviour? In order to answer this question, take a look around you. What do you see? You may be in your own living room, in an office, on a train or a bus. Take a moment to think about these surroundings and other locations in which you live your life. This is the society and culture within which you currently exist. These surroundings and the people in them influence and are impacted upon by the ways in which you carry out your life, both online and offline. Prior to delving into this further, culture will be defined for the purposes of this chapter.
Alison Attrill

4. Natives and Immigrants: Closing the Digital Generation Gap

A YouTube video was posted by the parent of a one-year-old in 2011, which featured the toddler playing with an iPad. The youngster smiles and laughs as she swipes her tiny fingers across the screen and makes the images magically disappear and morph into new ones. The parent then plays a cruel trick on the child. He swaps the tablet with a non-digital magazine. The magazine has just as many colorful images on the cover as the iPad, but the images do not change with a finger swipe. In just a few short moments, the toddler becomes visibly frustrated and upset. The father cleverly entitles the video, “A magazine is an iPad that does not work.” Perhaps an extreme example, but the one-minute video clip provides a brilliant illustration of how technology has fundamentally changed the way we see and interact with the world. The technology surrounding us continues to be a lever for the evolution of human behavior. In particular, Prensky (2001) described the resultant dissemination of technology to younger generations as the creation of “digital natives.” According to Prensky, the average young college graduate has spent an estimated 5,000 hours of reading in his or her lifetime. The same young adult reportedly has logged over 10,000 hours playing video games. You can double the last number for television-viewing, while computer games, email, Internet, and text messaging are not included.
Edward T. Asbury

5. Technology-Assisted Memory

Memory is extremely important. It helps us to perform our everyday tasks, remember facts, and reminisce about the past. It also provides us with a sense of identity and allows us to think about and plan for the future (Baddeley et al., 2015). Yet memory is far from perfect. Psychological research has consistently shown that people are forgetful and the memories we do have are often inaccurate and distorted (see Baddeley et al., 2015). We might have difficulty remembering factual knowledge (like the name of a famous person) or other information we once knew (like events we have recently experienced; Crawford et al., 2003). This represents a problem with retrospective memory. Alternatively, we might forget to perform an intended action in the future, such as watching an anticipated TV programme or taking medication (Crawford et al., 2003). This is a failure of prospective memory.
Tom Mercer

6. Internet Addiction: A Clinical Perspective

To date, around 40% of the world population is online. Internet usage has grown almost six-fold over the last decade around the globe. In Korea, 96% of Internet users make use of high-speed Internet connections, in comparison to 78% in the UK and 56% in the US (2012, 2013). Since 2000, the US has more than doubled Internet access and use, and mobile Internet use increased extensively in 2011 (The Nielsen Company, 2012a). These statistics evidence that the Internet has become an integral element in today’s society. In 2012, children and adolescents in Australia spent an average of 24 hours online per month, compared with 65 hours for individuals aged 18–24 years, and 25–34 year olds spend more than 100 hours per month online (The Nielsen Company, 2012b). Accordingly, young adults are the most active Internet users and spend roughly three hours per day on the Internet (Kuss et al., 2014a).
Daria Kuss

7. Online Support Groups: Enhancing the User Experience with Cyber-Psychological Theory

Most of us will be familiar with the well-known expression “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Conventional wisdom at least then would seem to suggest that there are distinct psychological benefits associated with unburdening your problems onto others. Perhaps there is something cathartic about getting a few things off your chest. Perhaps discussing your problems with others allows you to gain new insights from someone else’s perspective or maybe there is just some comfort in simply knowing that others are there for you when you need them. Whatever the case, no matter how resilient you might think you are, there comes a time in all of our lives when (to quote a very famous song) “we all need somebody to lean on” (Withers, 1972).
Chris Fullwood

8. Counselling in Online Environments

The Internet is no longer regarded as a world separate to our physical existence, but rather exists more as part of individuals’ everyday lives as a method to interact with others (Wellman & Haythornthwaite, 2002). The Internet has changed the way individuals obtain information, explore, and expand relationships with others in ways not contemplated until relatively recently (Skinner & Zack, 2004). It is being explored for both legitimate professional and charlatan therapies by practitioners, potential practitioners, clients, and conmen alike. One feature of the Internet that has developed in recent times is that of online counselling (Mallen et al., 2011). It is therefore important to consider academic theory and research in relation to online counselling methods to help further our understanding of the possible effectiveness of online therapies, and the factors that impact this effectiveness in order for clients to gain the best clinical outcomes.
Rachel Harrad, Nick Banks

9. Romantic Relationships and Online Dating

The influence of technology in our lives has seeped into nearly every aspect of how we relate to others. We connect with our friends and family through text, email, social networking sites (SNS), and instant messaging to name but a few. Through a variety of online platforms we seek old and new friends, business partnerships and collaborations, employers and employees and of course, we seek candidates for those relationships most dear to us, romantic relationships. This chapter cannot attempt to address the vast area of how technology changes the ways in which we interact in all of our relationships, but rather will focus on the influence of technology and the Internet on our romantic relationships, in particular how we find those relationships through online dating.
Nicola Fox Hamilton

10. Online Consumer Behaviour

In westernised cultures, there is an advancing shift from offline to online activities for many routine behaviours, including shopping and banking (Statista, 2015). Additionally, it was reported in 2014 that 28.3% of all UK fashion purchases and 28.8% of general goods purchases were made online. With online retail equalling big money, it is no wonder that interest is mounting in the area of online consumer behaviour. Increases in online consumerism may in part be due to the availability of online shopping via smartphones and tablets around the clock, anytime, anywhere. Online commerce and shopping behaviour are continuously evolving, to the point where some even blame the Internet for the demise of traditional high street shopping here in the UK. With this shift comes a need for retailers to consider the psychological aspects of online retail in the development of websites, along with the attraction and retention of online shoppers in order to provide a consistently positive consumer experience. Drawing on theories and research from cyberpsychology, and consumer, social, and cognitive psychology, this chapter will highlight some of the key variations between consumer experiences in online and offline shopping, and will consider ways in which retailers are attempting to blur physical and virtual shopping experiences.
Nicola Derrer-Rendall, Alison Attrill

11. Applying Psychology within Games Development: What Can the Gaming Industry Learn from the Discipline?

The rise of gaming as a social pursuit in which players can typically meet, interact, and play alongside one another calls for a consideration of two issues. Firstly, how the social contexts of gameplay impact on players’ experiences, and secondly, on a more practical level, how game developers may utilise evidence of this effect to enhance the positive experiences derived from the activity. This will form the basis for this chapter, which will introduce key evidence from psychological theory and research on gaming, and offer practical suggestions towards future game design. Within this, both the “direct,” in-game experiences as well as those social processes which operate outside gameplay will be considered in reference to psychological theory and key evidence. This will be introduced here to give readers an insight into the extent to which psychological understanding can provide some suggestion on the development of game features to promote the social experiences of players within gaming.
Linda Kaye

12. Military and Defence Applications

Virtual environments are synthetic computer simulations that represent activities at a high degree of realism, and which are presented to a user in such a way that s/he temporarily suspends belief and accepts them as real environments (see Witmer & Singer, 1998). Virtual Environments (VEs) allow people to communicate as avatars, which are digital visual projections that represent a synthetic reality (Fox & Ahn, 2013), so that individuals can change aspects of their identity, or even create a novel, entirely fictitious, and unrepresentative online identity. Virtual environments have numerous applications for military and defence purposes, ranging from allowing personnel to experience realistic high-pressure situations with a sense of presence but in the absence of real-world risk, to modelling threats to national and international infrastructure to improve resilience. Additional and emerging opportunities also exist for communication and intelligence gathering purposes, exploring online social cognition and group behaviour, and for understanding how to mitigate the negative effects of combat-related stress disorders, for example.
Coral Dando, Claire Tranter

13. Social Media Impact on Organisations

There is little doubt that information technology has permanently altered the manner in which we work. We are now living in a digital age, where working practices are no longer constrained by space and time. Co-workers are not necessarily required to be in the same physical environment to work together and this has led to an evolution in business practices, with organisations increasingly managing larger workforces spread over different time-zones (Bennett et al., 2010b; McGregor, 2000). One of the many challenges faced by organisations who adopt distributed ways of working comes with building and maintaining an organisational culture and ensuring that employees feel part of the team and work cooperatively, despite the geographical distance from their co-workers. Distributed ways of working may sometimes engender feelings of isolation, reduce productivity, and lower staff morale (Bell et al., 2008; Bennett et al., 2010b). However, although technology may in this case be contributing to the problem, it could also provide the solution. Increasingly, organisations are introducing social media tools into the workplace which have the potential to improve communications between co-workers, boost morale and motivation, increase efficiency, and foster an organisational culture (Akkirman & Harris, 2005; Bennett et al., 2010b).
Johanna Myddleton, Chris Fullwood

14. Online Psychometric Assessment

At its core, the field of psychometrics is concerned with the measurement of psychological constructs. The term psychometric is derived from the ancient Greek words ψυχικóζ (“of the soul”; “of life”) and μέτρησις (“measurement”), and describes a group of methods by which a psychologist can measure a test taker’s cognitive ability, personality, attitudes, interests, or other psychological characteristics relevant to a wide variety of therapeutic, occupational, educational, and forensic settings. These measurements are based on the test taker’s responses to a series of questions and statements, known as items, traditionally administered using a pencil-and-paper system of question booklets and answer sheets. Within practitioner circles (as is the case in this chapter), “psychometrics,” “psychological assessment,” and “psychological measurement” are terms that are used interchangeably (Coaley, 2014).
Daniel Hinton, Debbie Stevens-Gill


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