The Evolving Psychology of Online Use: From Computerphobia to Internet Addiction




Quinn, Brian A.

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Information Today


In the brief space of thirty years, information technology has undergone a remarkable transformation in the minds of end users. This study traces the evolution of end user attitudes toward online use, from the time when computers were first introduced and the subsequent rise of technophobia and technostress, to the emergence of the Web and more recent psychological adaptations—including obsessive compulsive disorders, addiction, and surrogate companionship. The reasons for this transformation—both technological and human—are investigated. A detailed analysis of what makes online use so psychologically engaging is provided. The psychological potential of information technology, it will be shown, has been largely ignored by the media and is still largely untapped. The paper concludes with an in-depth look at some of the practical ways professionals are combining this changing end user psychology with emerging technology to bring about positive psychological adaptations and outcomes in the health care field.



Internet users, Psychology, Applied, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Internet addiction


National Online Meeting, & Williams, M. E. (2000). National Online Meeting proceedings--2000: proceedings of the 21st National Online Meeting, New York, May 16-18, 2000. Medford, NJ: Information Today.