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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
posted by jason | 9:57 AM | permalink

A very interesting read on posting anonymous comments on blogs.



Key points from the article:



Social psychologists have known for decades that, if we reduce our sense of our own identity – a process called deindividuation – we are less likely to stick to social norms. For example, in the 1960s Leon Mann studied a nasty phenomenon called "suicide baiting" – when someone threatening to jump from a high building is encouraged to do so by bystanders. Mann found that people were more likely to do this if they were part of a large crowd, if the jumper was above the 7th floor, and if it was dark. These are all factors that allowed the observers to lose their own individuality.



Social psychologist Nicholas Epley argues that much the same thing happens with online communication such as email. Psychologically, we are "distant" from the person we're talking to and less focused on our own identity. As a result we're more prone to aggressive behaviour, he says.



And this..



Another obvious factor is that, if you insult someone online, it's unlikely you'll face any physical retaliation for it. Epley compares the resulting psychological distance to being isolated inside a car – another situation that seems to make people more prone to abusiveness.



Just some food for thought.



H/T: TechCunch

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