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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2011 Oct;14(10):585-9. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0468. Epub 2011 Mar 7.

Communication patterns and satisfaction levels in three-dimensional versus real-life intimate relationships.

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The Psychological Research on Synthetic Environments Project, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California 90045, USA.


The present study compared communication patterns and satisfaction levels between three-dimensional (3D) and real-life intimate relationships using a sample of 71 participants who were concurrently involved in an intimate relationship within Second Life and a separate real-life romantic relationship. Participants indicated that the quality of their communication was significantly better in their Second-Life relationship and that they experienced higher levels of satisfaction with their virtual partners. The more positive or idealized view of the 3D relationships may have been due to higher levels of focused interaction and reduced stressors in the virtual world and the greater length, and associated problems, in participant's real-life relationships. In addition, the presence of a concurrent relationship within Second Life could have negatively affected participant's judgments of their real-life relationships. These data offer the first detailed assessment of communication patterns and satisfaction levels in intimate relationships across the real and 3D virtual realms as the number of users and romantic partners in immersive virtual environments continue to grow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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