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Extended self and the digital world

Current Opinion in Psychology, vol. 10 (2016) pp. 50-54 Published by Elsevier

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Abstract

As originally conceived, the extended self is composed of a person's mind, body, physical possessions, family, friends, and affiliation groups. With the advent of the Internet (especially 'Web 2.0'), social media, online games, virtual worlds, and other digital activities, together with the devices through which participation in such activities takes place, there is a greatly expanded set of ways in which we may represent ourselves to others. Research and theory on the extended self must now consider features such as dematerialization, re-embodiment, and co-construction of self. This review outlines research in these areas and emerging challenges. A summary table outlines the changes to the extended self concept and the nature of possessions resulting from these features. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research.

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Authors

  • Russell Belk

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