The Absence of Gating in Virtual Relationship

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  • Created on: 10-06-22 15:46
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  • The Absence of Gating in Virtual Relationship
    • We use features e.g. attractiveness, age or ethnicity to categorise potential partners before deciding whether we would like a relationship with that person.
      • In online relationships there is an absence of these barriers or ‘gates’ that hinder the less attractive, shy or less socially skilled to form relationships in face-to-face encounters.
    • A consequence of removing the barriers or ‘gates’ is that a person’s true self is more likely to be active in internet relationships than it is in face-to-face interactions.  This enables them to form close relationships over the internet.
      • P - Research support for absence of gating was conducted by Baker and Oswald (2010).
        • E - They asked 207 male and female participants to complete a questionnaire, scoring their answers in terms of shyness, internet use and perception of quality of their friendships.
          • E - They found that those people who scored highly on shyness and internet use, perceived the quality of their friendships as high.
            • L - The findings imply that as online communication helps people to overcome their shyness, so the quality of their face-to-face communication also improves.
      • P - Virtual communication can also be used by established couples to increase feelings of closeness.
        • E - Lenhart and Duggan (2014) studied Americans in long-term relationships and found that 25% of participants had texted their partners when they were, in fact, at home together at the time.
          • E - Furthermore, 21% of those surveyed about their mobile phone use said that it had helped them to feel closer to their partner, especially in instances where they had a disagreement to resolve.
            • L - This means that relationships in real life can be affected positively by virtual Communications between the two partners.
      • P - Research into virtual relationships is based on the experiences of mainly Western, technologically developed cultures.
        • E - Internet technology is not readily available in some countries, so the conclusions about the development and effects of virtual communication on romantic relationships cannot be applied to them.
          • E - There are also important gender differences in virtual relationships as women tended to rate their relationships formed online as more intimate, and valued selfdisclosure, more highly than men.
            • L - This lowers the validity of research into virtual relationships, limiting the range of relationships it explains.
      • P - An issue with studying virtual relationship in social media is that it is affected by changes in a fast-paced society.
        • E - Most of the research examining virtual relationships was conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As technology is changing rapidly, so is the nature of online relationships.
          • E - Therefore, psychological research in this area risks becoming outdated by the time it is published.
            • L - This lowers the temporal validity of research into online relationships and means that the findings into virtual relationships may not necessarily apply to the current situation.


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