Thursday, September 30, 2010

CyberPsychology 101: The Online Disinhibition Effect (Part 1)

Disinhibition is a term in psychology used to describe conditions of a person being unable to control their immediate impulsive response to a situation. Disinhibited behavior occurs when people do not follow the social rules about what or where to say or do something. People who are disinhibited may come across as rude, tactless or even offensive.

Increased disinhibition online is thought to be one of the side effects of computer-mediated communication — that is, communication between ourselves and a computer. According to research, “if inhibition is when behavior is contrained or restrained through self-consciousness, anxiety about social situations, worries about public evaluation , and so on, then disinhibition can be characterized by an absence or reversal of these same factors.” Disinhibition is said to be a product of reduced public self-awareness, which should lead to less concern about the judgment of others.

I’ve had my own share of online disinhibition way back in the latter part of my grade school and early highschool years when mirc32 seemed to be the coolest thing on Earth. Since I can log on the chat rooms using any name I want, I remember that I entertain (and yes, would even initiate on some rare occasions) chatting with strangers with the usual “asl” greeting. And I fondly remember too not replying to them if I learn that they don’t come from admu or lsgh/dlsu. Haha. And the best part of maintaining anonymity in chatrooms is that I can engage in school wars and bash people without any fear that they can track me down!


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