| This book is a substantial scholarly contribution to our understanding of the experience and behavior of the person on the internet. Primary sources of rigorous empirical research within each domain are most competently summarized and collated to describe clearly the current stage of our understanding. It's a state-of-the-science message. I look forward to tertiary sources which collate this book and other secondary sources - for example, Culture of the Internet (edited by Sara Kiesler) and Psychology and the Internet (edited by Jayne Gackenbach) - into a broader framework. |
One promising framework is evolutionary psychology. Steven Pinker, in his book How the Mind Works, places sociology within the frameworks of biology (natural selection) and then of psychology (nervous system as information-processing device to facilitate survival). The fact that a book with that title is considered perhaps premature and presumptuous, but is not dismissed as preposterous, is an indication of how far his discipline of evolutionary psychology has come. A third framework could be added using the following argument.
The extragenetic tools of memory, to store information. and speech, to transmit information, could be considered as a first generation of media, available to our species within a hunter-gatherer society. By extending our nervous systems using extrasomatic tools to store information (print and film - second generation), to transmit information (telephone and television - third generation), and now to both store and transmit information (multimedia and internet - fourth generation), we have managed the dramatic transitions to an agricultural society, an industrial society, and now an information society.
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