The new media and the evolution of the human psyche
Background. The emergence of the new media — the Internet and social networks — has had a considerable impact not only on media technologies, genres of journalism, and environment the journalist works in, but also on every user of global communication. Ongoing changes are extending their influence to all the media, making it important for researchers to reconsider the role of journalism in modern society and the perspectives of its development in the information age.
Objective. In order to get an adequate picture of the ongoing changes, we need to understand how the new media impact their users. We studied the dependence of people’s self-identification (values) on their Internet activity and use of social networks. Our hypothesis was that use of the new media leads to the formation of a new personality type, among whose most distinct characteristics is a much stronger desire for selfdetermination.
Design. The characteristic features of respondents’ self-identification were studied by their choosing a reference group. Their desire for self-determination was revealed by giving them ethical dilemmas. A questionnaire was devised to study their communicative preferences and attitudes. Various methods of mathematical analysis were applied.
Results. Factor analysis revealed two psychological types of people, different from others in how much they use the new media. Statistical analyses of the group comparison data showed that the desire for self-determination is considerably higher for active users, and is especially high for those who adhere to spiritual values (by the Maslow pyramid). A two-way ANOVA confirmed the overall effect of these two factors — spiritual values and the new media — on the desire for self-determination.
Conclusion. The data obtained show that the new media support people’s desire for self-determination. Using the new media and thereby acquiring the identify of a journalist becomes an important factor of personality development and is in line with the general evolution of the psyche.
Authors: Pronina, Elena E.
Themes: Social psychology
Keywords: identity of a communicator, media psychology, citizen journalism, self-determination, new media