The works of few individuals have impacted such a large variety of fields as the work of Abraham Maslow. His work describing human motivation in terms of needs and the priorities assigned to those needs has been cited by over 4,000 scholarly writers in a wide variety of disciplines including psychology, management, education, and theology. Although Maslow’s work is founded on the most basic of human interactions, the recognition and fulfillment of needs, digital realities are altering human interaction patterns. Social morality and norms are still being defined for a technology that has advanced more rapidly than cultural conventions have evolved. As technology expands the varieties of human experience, how does the Internet support the individual satisfaction of needs as defined by Maslow?
Key Terms in this Chapter
Cyberpsychology: The study of psychology that specializes in studying online personal interactions and experiences that happen to individuals participating in online relationships both as individuals and members of virtual communities.
Disinhibition: The freedom to act on impulses or drives unhindered by restraint systems provided by social and culture norms often due to the removal of a factor that would restrain that behavior pattern.
Virtual Communities: Social networks of individual that develop through interactions over the Internet due to a common interest are called virtual communities. The term may refer to communities that are only slightly cohesive such as members of a discussion list or it may refer to a group that has stronger social ties to the community group such a role playing communities.
Self-Actualization: Self-actualization is the desire and drive of individuals to improve personal abilities to reach the highest level of understanding and achievement possible during their lifetimes. Maslow believed that self actualization allowed individuals to fully become the person they were destined to be and that moments of reaching this state were the most fulfilling moments of an individual’s life.
Avatar: A computer generated figure used to represent a live participant in a virtual community. Avatars may be animated, modeled in two dimensions, or text-based objects. The characteristic of avatars often represent individual status, beliefs, or interests within the virtual community.