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Talk of lies

The emotional impact of virtual violence, break-ups and romance scams explored at free public lecture at the University of Leicester. A Leicester professor is to discuss the dark side of cyberspace and how the internet can be both liberating and debilitating to its users.


Monica Whitty, Professor of Contemporary Media at the University of Leicester, will expose the psychology of cyberspace and its comparisons to the offline world in a free public lecture on February 21.

Professor Whitty will draw on her research into cyberspace, providing examples from her research that have focused on topics such as internet infidelity, online deception, morals in video games and the online dating romance scam.

Her recent work into internet infidelity compared the hurt caused from internet relationships to those in the offline realm. She found that relationship transgressions in cyberspace are just as hurtful to the individuals concerned as in the offline world.

She has also researched online deception and concluded that, surprisingly, people are no more likely to lie on the internet than the offline world.  

Professor Whitty says: “Where we are more likely to lie in fact varies depending on whether this is a planned lie or a spontaneous lie. My work on video games has gone beyond early researchers questioning whether games cause individuals to be more violent. Instead I have examined whether individuals can psychologically cope with being raped, tortured, involved in cannibalism and so forth in an online game.

“Finally, my latest work has looked at a fairly new scam known as the online dating romance scam. I will present my latest findings that have examined: the typology of the victim, the persuasive methods criminals use as well as the psychological impact on the victim. In recent research we found over 200,000 individuals in the UK are likely to have become victims to this crime. The psychological impact is extremely serious with victims reporting the loss of the relationship as traumatic as the financial loss (with individuals often mortgaging their houses).”

The lecture will be held 5:30pm to 6:30pm on February 21, at Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester.


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