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Psychology   >   Relationships – Virtual and Parasocial Relationships


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Relationships – Virtual and Parasocial Relationships

In this course, Dr Martin Graff (University of South Wales) explores virtual relationships. In the first lecture, we think about self-disclosure and how it differs between in-person disclosure and online disclosure. In the second lecture, we think about gating and the consequences of its relative absence in online relationships. In the third lecture, we think about parasocial relationships and the models which describe the different levels individuals can engage in. Next, we think about some explanations for why people engage in parasocial relationships, including the absorption addiction model. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about how attachment theory can inform why people engage in parasocial relationships.


In this lecture, we think about self-disclosure, focusing in particular on: (i) defining what self-disclosure is in the context of online interaction, as well as the content that a self-disclosure can be comprised of; (ii) the importance of reciprocity in encouraging self-disclosure; (iii) Altman and Taylor’s 1973 social penetration theory (STP) of disclosure; (iv) Altman and Taylors three proposed levels of disclosure being superficial, personal and intimate; (v) the finding that people generally disclose more information to women than they do to men; (vi) the reduced potential for judgement in online interactions potentially facilitating increased disclosure; (vii) the online disinhibition effect and the phenomenon that we disclose more information to people we like, as well as liking people more who disclose information to us.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Graff, M. (2022, May 04). Relationships – Virtual and Parasocial Relationships - Self-Disclosure [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Graff, M. "Relationships – Virtual and Parasocial Relationships – Self-Disclosure." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 May 2022,

Image Credits


Dr Martin Graff

Dr Martin Graff

University of South Wales