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Alexandеr Voiskounsky1, Alexandr Evdokimenko2, Natalia Fedunina3
  • 1 Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1 Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
  • 2 Lomonosov Moscow State University, GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
  • 3 Moscow City University of Psychology and Education, Str. Sretenka, 29, 127051, Moscow, Russian Federation

Online and Real-Life Identity: A Comparative Study

2013. Vol. 10. No. 2. P. 98–121 [issue contents]

Identity studies are one of the most popular in psychology, and studies of identity on the Internet into the conditions of virtual reality, especially in the blogosphere and social networks, are at the forefront. An important characteristic of network identity is that it is not gradually built by itself in the process of growing and aging – it is constructed to be explicitly presented to others. This work is a study of gender and age specificity of the “network” identity and “real” identity of active users of social networks in adolescence, youth and early adulthood. This paper also addresses (and attempts to offer a solution to) the problem of qualitative and quantitative assessment of the differences between network and real identity in adolescents and young adults, actively communicating in social networks.

We conducted a comparative analysis of network identity and real identity using the “Aspects of Identity” questionnaire (JM Cheek et al.) and in-depth interviews with active users of social networks aged 15–25 years (42 people). The sample consisted of three age groups with seven male and seven female active social network users in each group. The hypotheses of the difference between the individual parameters of network and real identity and of age and gender differences related to self-presentation were explored. Gender and age differences were revealed in scores on the identity scales (for the social identity in network and in reality and for the surface identity in network), as well as on the network–reality gap (on individual and relational identity). Scores on different identity scales have significant differences in “network” and “reality” conditions. Factors of real and network identity have significant intercorrelations, suggesting that the two types of identity are mutually permeable.

Citation: Voiskunsky, A. E., Evdokimenko, A. S., & Fedunina, N. Yu. (2013). Cetevaya i real'naya identichnost': sravnitel'noe issledovanie [Online and Real-Life Identity: A Comparative Study].  Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 10(2), 98-121. (in Russian)
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