University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > Morals and taboos in cyberspace: Do we play by the same rules?

Morals and taboos in cyberspace: Do we play by the same rules?

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Virtual affairs, rape, murder and torture; all this, plus more, individuals can play out in cyberspace. This paper questions whether any behaviours in cyberspace might be considered immoral or taboo acts? It questions whether our moral values are able to transcend spaces and to what extent they should be permitted to do so. In answering this question it is of course important to acknowledge that cyberspace is not a generic space. The expectations I have of how my partner ought to conduct himself on facebook, for example, might be very different to my concerns about how he plays out his character within World of Warcraft (WoW). And yet, even within a game, it seems that certain behaviours are not permitted. In WoW, for instance, characters are permitted to murder and even cannibalise; however, other taboo behaviours, such as rape are not built into the game. In contrast, other MMORG Ps games, such as Sociolotron, permits rape and is seen as a regular feature of the game. I argue here that it is important for psychologists to consider the psychological impacts of acting out taboo or immoral behaviours in cyberspace and whether or not cyberspace ought to be a taboo free zone? Drawing from my own work and my work with colleagues I consider what the psychological and social consequences are for engaging behaviours considered taboo and immoral offline within cyberspace.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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