Published in Uncategorised by Dr Naomi Moller of The Open University on October 14th 2021
Research suggests that there are some aspects of the internet that may make it easier to be unfaithful.
The fact that the online world is ‘virtual’ (as opposed to the ‘real’ world) can make it hard to judge online behaviours. For example, the following statements were made by two people who took part in a research study:
Notice how they both use the word ‘real’ but they argue different things – in the first case that virtual sex is different from “real life” sex and in the second case to argue that it’s not.
Researchers suggest that confusion around definitions can make it easier to justify cheating online.
Researchers suggest that confusion around definitions can make it easier to justify cheating online
Research has identified several factors that may make online affairs easier
Quite a lot of research suggests that there is something known as an ‘online disinhibition effect’ – that is that people are more likely to be open and to reveal personal truths online. It also seems that they develop a sense of intimacy and trust more quickly, resulting in strong emotional connections. While this can be a good thing, it may allow a casual friendship that is formed online to more easily tip over into a relationship between two people who have feelings for each other.
Research suggests that... people are more likely to be open and to reveal personal truths online
To see the full list of research references which have informed the content on this page, please see our research references section.