Phantom emotions

Azy Barak

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

 Phantom emotions

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  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article focuses on the notion of ‘phantom emotions’. Two psychological phenomena – the natural tendency, based on personal needs and wishes, to fantasize and close gaps in subjectively important information in ambiguous situations on the one hand; and the common use of a made-up persona to represent one's identity in virtual environments, on the other – unavoidably creates phantom emotions. An individual online genuinely experiences an emotion – be it attraction or repulsion, lust, love, hate, or jealousy – although these emotional sensations are based, in principle, on false objective foundations. Moreover, not only is the external information inaccurate (or entirely false), but the personal emotions are elicited (or triggered) by illusionary objects momentary believed to be authentic and real.

Keywords: phantom emotion; emotional experience; online experience; Internet; personal emotions

Article.  18444 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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