Sure to resonate

Dr Lydia J. Harkin reviews 'Psychology of the Digital Age: Humans Become Electric', by John R. Suler.

Psychology of the Digital Age offers a compelling analysis of human behaviour in an increasingly digital world. John Suler, a respected internet researcher, leads the reader through his view of various facets of the internet, including the architecture of websites and online social relationships.

This book largely draws on the psychodynamic tradition of psychology; a classic discipline that is given a refreshing update as Suler applies it to internet studies. Meanwhile, each chapter is grounded with anecdotes from the author’s personal experiences online and frequent references to popular internet applications. This style gives the book a contemporary feel, which should make it easy to digest for novice readers whilst including valuable insights for students and experts in this field.

Suler provides in-depth accounts of different interactions he has observed online. His chapters detailing online talk and deviant exchanges are particularly enlightening, considering his seminal work in this field. In addition, Suler’s insights are interesting as he has studied the use of the internet growing and adapting as online access has become more prevalent. However, at times this book can be overly reliant on description as there are limited references to wider bodies of literature or empirical work. This may be disappointing for students seeking a nuanced view of psychological internet behaviours.

Ultimately, Psychology of the Digital Age challenges the reader to consider and analyse how they personally utilise the online world. As our lives are becoming increasingly digital, the arguments presented in this book are sure to resonate with readers.  

Psychology of the Digital Age: Humans Become Electric by John R. Suler is published by Cambridge University Press; 2016; Pb £24.99.

- Reviewed by Dr Lydia J. Harkin, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

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