Unembodiment on the Internet. Part 1: Theoretical Basis and Construct



Disembodiment of digital media users, known as the loss of their physical bodies in cyberspace is among the least-studied psychological consequences of the use of information technologies. In the digital era such kind of disembodiment might limit the development of a person’s individuality. That’s why in present study we aim to create its theoretical construct. The construct is based on the clinical conception of unembodiment of schizoids by the British psychiatrist R. Laing. There is an evidence to suggest that constant split between self and body, that digital media users demonstrate, creates conditions for disembodiment similar to the one of schizoids. This existential position is associated with feelings of loss of reality, self-substantiality and elusiveness of being. In the same way that the disembodiment of schizoids and inherent to it sense of self and view of the world are determined by their ‘shutupness’ in the inner world, the disembodiment of media users is determined by the extent to which their life is limited to the artificial computer environment. The theoretical construct was measured according to this hypothesis. Three measurements, which unites factors that stand against the disembodiment are presented in the article: Disembodiment as Virtualization, Preference of the Internet and their alternative Vitality of the Embodied Self.

General Information

Keywords: existential position of the unembodiment, psychological effects of the use of information technologies, disembodiment, unembodiment on the Internet, experience of the unembodiment

Journal rubric: Theoretical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/cpse.2021100303

Funding. The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 19-29-07046.

For citation: Kopteva N.N., Kalugin A.Y., Dorfman L.Y. Unembodiment on the Internet. Part 1: Theoretical Basis and Construct [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaia i spetsial'naia psikhologiia = Clinical Psychology and Special Education, 2021. Vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 31–48. DOI: 10.17759/cpse.2021100303. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Natalia N. Kopteva, Doctor of Psychology, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of Practical Psychology, Perm State Humanitarian-Pedagogical University, Perm, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1466-9453, e-mail: kopteva@pspu.ru

Alexey Y. Kalugin, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Practical Psychology, Perm State Humanitarian Pedagogical University, Perm, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3633-2926, e-mail: KaluginAU@yandex.ru

Leonid Y. Dorfman, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor, Head of the Department of Humanities, Perm State Institute of Culture, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8494-5674, e-mail: dorfman07@yandex.ru



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