Over one billion people use the Internet globally. Psychologists are beginning to understand what people do online, and the impact being online has on behaviour. It's making us re-think many of our existing assumptions about what it means to be a social being. For instance, if we can talk, flirt, meet people and fall in love online, this challenges many of psychology's theories that intimacy or understanding requires physical co-presence.
The Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology brings together many of the leading researchers in what can be termed 'Internet Psychology'. Though a very new area of research, it is growing at a phenomenal pace. In addition to well-studied areas of investigation, such as social identity theory, computer-mediated communication and virtual communities, the volume also includes chapters on topics as diverse as deception and misrepresentation, attitude change and persuasion online, Internet addiction, online relationships, privacy and trust, health and leisure use of the Internet, and the nature of interactivity.
With over 30 chapters written by experts in the field, the range and depth of coverage is unequalled, and serves to define this emerging area of research. Uniquely, this content is supported by an entire section covering the use of the Internet as a research tool, including qualitative and quantitative methods, online survey design, personality testing, ethics, and technological and design issues. While it is likely to be a popular research resource to be 'dipped into', as a whole volume it is coherent and compelling enough to act as a single text book.
The Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology is the definitive text on this burgeoning field. It will be an essential resource for anyone interested in the psychological aspects of Internet use, or planning to conduct research using the 'net'.
Reviewer:Nicholas Greco IV, MS, BCETS, CATSM(Abbott Laboratories)
Description:This is a discussion of Internet psychology presented by some of the leading researchers in psychology. While the Internet is not new, the behaviors and sometimes actions of those online are beginning to challenge widely held assumptions and beliefs. This is an area ripe for not only discussion but research in keeping up with the technology.
Purpose:The purpose is to provide the first definitive book on Internet psychology as a platform for discussion, interest, and research. While the Internet has contributed numerous advances in every field imaginable, it has come with some negatives such as deception, crime, outlets for addictions, and changes in attitudes.
Audience:Anyone in the mental health and social sciences fields will find this a fascinating book. Those in law enforcement and the legal system may also be interested. To some extent, the general public may also find this book interesting.
Features:The book is broken down into five parts covering interaction and interactivity, groups and communities, personality, self, and identity, psychological aspects of Internet use, and Internet-based research. Some notable topics are the online groups and communities inclusive of social and support as well as discriminatory and hate groups. There are five chapters on personality, self, and identity and the one on self-disclosure, privacy, and the Internet is outstanding. It covers people's attitudes and behavioral changes such as the preference for online activities over in-person social activities. Other topics include psychological problems, addictions, and health behavior. There is also a complete section on Internet-based research.
Assessment:With a doubt, this is the most relevant and definitive book available on Internet psychology and a required reading for all social scientists.