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Relationships – Virtual and Parasocial Relationships

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About this Course

About the Course

This course, by Dr Martin Graff (University of South Wales), explores virtual relationships. In the first module, we think about self-disclosure and how it differs between in-person disclosure and online disclosure. In the second module, we think about gating and the consequences of its relative absence in online relationships. In the third module, we think about parasocial relationships and the models which describe the different levels individuals can engage in. Next, we think about some explanations for why people engage in parasocial relationships, including the absorption addiction model. In the fifth and final module, we think about how attachment theory can inform why people engage in parasocial relationships.

About the Lecturer

Dr Martin Graff is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education at the University of South Wales, teaching social psychology, the psychology of relationships and online interaction, as well as research methods. Dr Graff’s personal research interests are in online relationships and interactions. Dr Graff’s recent publications include How can you persuade me online? The impact of goal-driven motivations on attention to online information (2020) and Can time spent on social media affect thin-ideal internalisation, objectified body consciousness and exercise motivation in women? (2019).

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