Think back. Way back to the early days of the Internet. Can you remember back that far? Think about squealing dial-up modem sounds, forum discussions and your first email account. A lot has changed since then (which is perhaps the hugest understatement I have ever made).
First written in 1999, The Psychology of the Internet relied on classic studies in social science to inform our understanding of how the digital environment might affect human behaviour. The author, Patricia Wallace, wrote the original edition in an era of Internet pioneering. She was aware that cyberspace was “already having fundamental effects on human behaviour” and she wanted to better understand the hows and whys.
The original edition was a classic in its own right and has formed the basis for a great deal of the research and understanding we have of the Internet and human behaviour.
Wallace states that while these classic studies she relied on in the original edition are still relevant the research into the psychological aspects of the Internet has grown exponentially since 1999. The new edition, released this year, discusses, in a balanced way, “what we actually know from research about the psychology of the Internet, citing both positives and negatives and raising many new questions”.
Given that cyberspace is still a relatively new human environment it behooves us to do our best to understand it. Wallace shares research about how“… different kinds of human behaviour unfold in many corners of cyberspace, and why online environments can affect us in surprising ways.”
This well written, highly informative book includes topics such as: online persona; group dynamics; online aggression; interpersonal attraction; altruism; gaming; growing up online and much more.
I think this book is a must read given how much the Internet has become a part of all our lives. As Wallace says, “we need knowledge about how this technology affects us and how we can, in turn, affect it.”
Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
 Wallace, P. (2016). The Psychology of the Internet Second edition. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA