Digital Genetics

Tag: Psychology

An Age of Rage?

by on Jul.26, 2011, under Internet, Psychology, Society

Tim Adams (The Observer) in his article ‘How the internet created an age of rage’, details his argument that the internet has created a cloak of anonymity, allowing its netizens the freedom (or deindividuation) to descend into new levels of hatred.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

“The worldwide web has made critics of us all. But with commenters able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, the blog and chatroom have become forums for hatred and bile. … The psychologists call it ‘deindividuation.’ It’s what happens when social norms are withdrawn because identities are concealed. The classic deindividuation experiment concerned American children at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters were invited to take sweets left in the hall of a house on a table on which there was also a sum of money. When children arrived singly, and not wearing masks, only 8% of them stole any of the money. When they were in larger groups, with their identities concealed by fancy dress, that number rose to 80%. The combination of a faceless crowd and personal anonymity provoked individuals into breaking rules that under ‘normal’ circumstances they would not have considered. … One simple antidote to this seems to rest in the very old-fashioned idea of standing by your good name. Adopt a pseudonym and you are not putting much of yourself on the line. Put your name to something and your words are freighted with responsibility.”

For the full article, visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jul/24/internet-anonymity-trolling-tim-adams

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Philip Zimbardo shows how people become monsters … or heroes

by on Jul.21, 2011, under Psychology, Society

Philip Zimbardo is an American Psychologist, best know for his work on the Stanford Prison Experiment. In this TED video, Philip presents  a seemingly positive message encapsulated within a disturbing view of human nature & psychology.

Warning: This video contains graphic imagery of a disturbing nature

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Deindividuation

by on Feb.21, 2011, under Psychology, Society

Thanks to a cross-post from jasco, I found a fascinating and thought-provoking article delving into the concept of deindividuation. According to wikipedia, Deindividation is ‘immersion in a group to the point at which the individual ceases to be seen as such‘ (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Deindividuation).

According to David RcRaney, the misconception is that ‘people who riot and loot are scum who were just looking for an excuse to steal and be violent’, where in fact the truth is that within a group ‘you are prone to losing your individuality and become absorbed into a hivemind under the right conditions’.

David McRaney writes:

Police and firefighters are well aware of this tendency for crowds to gather and taunt, and this is why they tape off potential suicide scenes and get the crowd out of shouting distance. The risk of a spontaneous cheering section goading a person into killing themselves is high when people in a group feel anonymous and are annoyed or angry. It only takes one person to get the crowd going. Those are the three ingredients – anonymity, group size and arousal. If you lose your sense of self, feel the power of a crowd and then get slammed by a powerful cue from the environment – your individuality may evaporate.

Within a crowd like this many will retain their sense of right and wrong. Some are able to maintain their composure. Many who witnessed these events felt terrible about what happened and condemned those who encouraged the jumpers, going so far as to condemn humanity itself after seeing such a dark display. What they didn’t realize, and what the people yelling didn’t anticipate, was the predictability and regularity of the behavior.

This is going to be hard to believe, but this sort of behavior could be inside you as well. Under the right circumstances, you too might yell “Jump!”

The full article is available via the URL:
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/02/10/deindividuation/

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