Cyberpsychology is one of the most interesting fields in modern psychology. Cyberpsychology is the study of human mind and behaviour as affected by technological advances.
The word ‘cyber’ comes from ‘cybernetics’ meaning the “study of the operation of control and communication”. It involves all those elements of cyberspace that interact with humans when using the internet.
Most of the research in cyberpsychology involves studying the effects of the online world on the individuals and groups. Internet-related topics that are interesting to psychologists involve online relationships, gender-switching online, personality types online and addiction to computers/phones and the internet.
Cyberpsychologists want to know how we behave online vs. in the real world, how we interact with others on the internet in the matters of the heart (whether we are looking to find love online, a casual romance or something else), and how true we are to our ‘offline self’ when meeting people on the internet.
Cyberpsychology and Me
For us laymen just innocently browsing the web every day cyberpsychology can be very interesting because it can point to some of the things we often overlook without the help or thoughts of experts.
For instance, gambling is one of the toughest addictions to beat, and internet addiction seems to be extremely similar to gambling. Most of us have our online time under control, but it doesn’t hurt to step back and reassess our internet behaviour.
How many hours a day do I spend online? On the phone or using my computer? Do I feel like I could cut back a little to re-join the real world? In all likelihood, the answer here is yes, and cyberpsychology offers some great tips for staying offline and loving it. For instance, spending more time at the gym instead of lounging around on the couch is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to cut back. Not bringing your phone with your everywhere you go, which is much easier said than done, is also a way to stay off the grid.
Cyberpsychology and Finding Love Online
Millions and millions of people use the internet to meet someone new and special to build a new friendship or a relationship. Many people will experiment on the internet with things they wouldn’t dare do in the offline world, and cyberpsychology strives to tell us why that is and what kinds of effects such behaviour has on the psyche.
Most cyberpsychologists like to rely on statistics when it comes to stating their opinion on online dating, and recent research in the US revealed some more than interesting numbers. Dishonesty on online dating profiles is more prevalent that you’d think, with 53% of people admitting they lied.
Further, women lied more than men, mostly about their looks, posting photographs of their younger selves. Men lied as well, but mostly about their financial situation, and dishonesty declined with age for both genders.
This isn’t to say that cyberpsychologists don’t believe you can find what you’re looking for online, but being informed about the fact that the majority of people lie on the web can help you assess the situations as critically as possible.
With technological developments advancing as we speak, the field of cyberpsychology is sure to have its hands full in the years to come, and we’ll be patiently waiting for the experts to weigh in on the digital times we live in.