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Psykhe (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0718-2228


ZEGERS, Beatriz; LARRAIN, M. Elena  y  TRAPP, Alejandro. The Chat: ¿Is it a Communication Media or a Laboratory to Experience With Identity? A Study with 124 University Students in Santiago, Chile. Psykhe [online]. 2004, vol.13, n.1, pp.53-69. ISSN 0718-2228.

This paper reports the results of the exploratory application of a Phrase Completion Test (TCF) in a sample of 124 college students, directed to assess whether Internet chat is only a way to communicate or if through it, young people experiment -assuming fictitious roles and behaviors- involving aspects of their identities. The calculation of the TCF's Cronbach alpha showed a high internal consistency (0.91). The factorial analysis found an underlying structure formed by six factors (attitudes and consistent behavior between real life and virtual reality; possibilities and experiences offered by virtual reality; disguise and deceit; desinhibition, confusion and anguish feelings; evaluation of virtual experiences attitudes with regard to changes of identity of the other person), all of which together explain the 45.82% of the variance, value considered acceptable. An average of 17.46 over a total of 42 points, with a deviation standard of 9.01 and a minimum of 3 points and maximum of 38 points in the TCF, allow us to state that young people engage their identities when chatting on the Internet. The univariated variance's analysis for TCF total scored showed that gender variable was significative (p = 0.024). The multivariated variance's analysis for six factors of TCF found that males explored more possibilities of experiences offered by virtual reality (p = 0.025). Men disguised more frequently aspects of their identity and they deceived more than women did (p = 0.006) and valued in a more permissive way the experiences that commited one's self identity in chat (p = 0.023). With regard to the variable hours of internet chat, there was no evidence that could lead us to assert that this variable has an influence on experiences of experimenting with identity on Internet chat.

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