Through the Internet looking glass

Katelyn Y. A. McKenna

in Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199561803
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743771 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Through the Internet looking glass

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  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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On the Internet, people are often able to interact with others under conditions of relative anonymity and in the absence of the physical presence of the other person. These conditions facilitate the sharing of important inner or ‘true’ aspects of self that are often difficult to express in ‘real life’. This article begins with a brief overview of conceptions of self. It then focuses upon a version of self that is current and private, but also which the individual would very much like to be made public and known to others. The article examines the nature of the true self and then the reasons why it may go unexpressed in everyday life. It concludes by describing the evidence suggesting that the Internet has become a prime venue for the expression and validation of the true self – in fact, perhaps the best venue there ever was.

Keywords: Internet; validation; anonymity; inner self; self-expression

Article.  11966 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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