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One advantage of using the website material as data is that the researchers were learning about real-life experiences from people’s actual lives.
So many times we see studies on relationships, including those that investigate the delicate issue of betrayal, that are based on the responses of undergraduate psychology students to fabricated scenarios (e.g.
“Rate how violated you would feel if your partner cheated on you on Facebook”).
Of course, people can be untruthful on the Internet as well as in the psychology lab, but by investigating this relatively large number of examples, the researchers had a better chance of tapping into the truth.
Loss of trust was another common outcome, perhaps again because of the ease with which the affairs can resume without detection.Making matters worse was the ease with which the unfaithful partner could deny any wrongdoing as no physical evidence of the affair existed.Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of dealing with Facebook cheating is that this is such a recent phenomenon.Internet infidelity has been around almost as long as the Internet itself.
While browsing through the web’s many highways and byways, users often find themselves lured onto sites that promise to satisfy their needs—sexual, emotional, or some combination of the two.
Acknowledging that the data from an Internet-based study has its obvious limitations, Cravens and her fellow researchers believe that the results have important clinical implications.