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View Full Version : Troll Psychology: Why People Are So Mean on the Internet?



Scarlet Ibis
08-08-2012, 03:52 AM
Read the full story here (http://news.health.com/2012/08/02/troll-psychology-mean-internet/)


August 2, 2012 | By Amanda Gardner

Cyberbullying is all too common in chat rooms, message boards, Facebook, and the Twitter-sphere, says Alan Manevitz, M.D., a clinical psychiatrist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “There’s a freedom of speech without a fear of consequences,” he says. “There’s no inhibition. It’s like being drunk.”

While part of the reason for the bad behavior is simply the ability to express one’s self without fear of physical consequences, there may be explanations rooted in science as well.

Studies have borne out the idea that people who are physically distanced from each other are less likely to play nice. One recent study found that game-show contestants were more likely to criticize a fellow contestant in the next room rather than one standing right next to them.

Similarly, a famous 1960s-era study found that people were willing to administer an electric shock (it was fake, but they didn’t know it) to a person they couldn’t see, even if they knew it was causing them serious pain.

Because humans are used to communicating in person, our brains are hard-wired to take in all manner of non-verbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions, tone and pitch of language as well as the pace at which people speak, explains Simon Rego, Psy.D., director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

“When you move online, suddenly all those cues also removed,” he says. “You are stripped of the nonverbal cues, the patterns of speech, the rate, tone and context and you’re left with a lot of guesswork.”

And when humans are faced with guesswork and ambiguity, they often perceive it as threatening and react accordingly. This may have saved your life in prehistoric times but in modern times, it can mean an escalating series of jabs on Twitter ending in handcuffs and a stint in jail.

Whether you’re on the receiving or giving end of a heated Internet exchange, a simple time-out could be enough to defuse the situation.

“The number-one rule is pause,” says Rego. “Don’t write an email when you’re angry or you can write it but don’t send it.”

Try to think before you type; it can help to picture the person in the same room with you or to read the exchange out loud before sending it. “That gives you the extra cue that’s missing in an online world,” Rego says.

If a person bullies you online, “let them know it’s hurtful and ask them respectfully to stop,” Dr. Manevitz said. Try to block contact with this person or alert your Internet provider. If that doesn’t work, you can report it to the police, he adds.

Spark
08-08-2012, 04:26 AM
Now this is what we need to see more of! Far too many shenanigans have been unfolding in cyberspace and my own previous personal research can vouch for the findings here.

Scarlet Ibis
08-08-2012, 04:41 AM
Now this is what we need to see more of! Far too many shenanigans have been unfolding in cyberspace and my own previous personal research can vouch for the findings here.

In your research, did you come to some of the same conclusions as some of the people in the article? That people are more detached when they're not face-to-face, etc.?

Spark
08-08-2012, 05:13 AM
In your research, did you come to some of the same conclusions as some of the people in the article? That people are more detached when they're not face-to-face, etc.?

Yes. "Anonymous" emotional and mental violence conducted over the Internet is actually quite prevalent. A variety of manipulative power plays and emotionally disturbing activities have been conducted over the Internet targeting various individuals, often through bullying, harassment, and intimidation. Several suicides have been linked to this type of activity, especially in adolescents and young adults. The Phoebe Prince case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_of_Phoebe_Prince) is a perfect example.

MikeWhalen
08-08-2012, 06:55 PM
you see it in buisness and politics too...the farther away/less real contact someone has with another, the easier it is to make harsh/cruel/ abusive decisions

in anycase, this thread made me think of a few pics I've picked up and I thought folks might like

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and finally

24

have a great day guys

Mike

Phil75231
08-09-2012, 07:39 AM
Any chance you can repost this in the rules section - as an object lesson to all newcomers? A ounce/gram of prevention, you know.

To the article itself. If you ask me, most netizens know pretty well what is meant to be an insult and a mere faux pas that's not intended to degrade. So I think the "lack of enforcement" is the big key. Everyone knows well what kinds of screen swill get posted on "free speech" forums, so I won't detail the examples here.

Spark
08-09-2012, 07:54 AM
Any chance you can repost this in the rules section - as an object lesson to all newcomers? A ounce/gram of prevention, you know.

Seconded. A friendly reminder is just what the doctor ordered.



To the article itself. If you ask me, most netizens know pretty well what is meant to be an insult and a mere faux pas that's not intended to degrade. So I think the "lack of enforcement" is the big key. Everyone knows well what kinds of screen swill get posted on "free speech" forums, so I won't detail the examples here.

It's sort of a slippery slope. If there is no enforcement, offenders then wonder, "Just how far can I go? How destructive can I be? How sadistic can I become?" And hence, the progression often sees cyberviolence become worse and worse until either the victim withdraws, the bully withdraws, or law enforcement, ISPs, or site administrators adjudicate and/or cease the activity. It is imperative to respond early and decisively to any inappropriate threats, badgering, or promises of danger. Because forums tend to attract a niche part of our society, many patrons naturally come with their own vulnerabilities and insecurities. Bullies can then prey on this, using the information they learn about their targets to select likely victims.