Progressive embodiment within cyberspace: Considering the psychological impact of the supermorphic persona

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Abstract:

This paper is premised on the idea that cyberspace permits the user a degree of somatic flexibility—a means of transcending the physical body but not, importantly, embodiment. Set within a framework of progressive embodiment (the assumption that individuals seek to exploit somatic flexibility so as to extend the boundaries of their own embodiment—what we call the supermorphic persona), we examine the manner of this progression. Specifically, to what extent do components of embodiment—the self-as-object, the phenomenal self, and the body-schema—find authentic expression within cyberspace? In addition, we also consider ways in which the issue of authenticity might impact on the psychological well being of the individual who seeks to transcend domains and present their supermorphic persona on- and offline.

Keywords: Body-Image; Body-Schema; Cyberspace; Embodiment; Phenomenal Self; Self-as-Object

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2011.556606

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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