The psychology of Internet rage

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The psychology of Internet rage

Have you noticed that you tend to get a lot of anger in the way with other drivers than you do with people in the rest of your life? To a great extent, the experience of street anger is universal, and can be explained by the emotional distance created between the driver when there is physical separation and high potential for inaction and perceived errors. The relative driving anonymity leads to excessive emotional responses when feeling underestimated or threatened, partly because everything you know about other drivers is that it just cuts you off. It makes sense that you might react more angrily in the situation than if the same interaction takes place in other real-life settings. The psychology of Internet rage

Now if you accept the premise that separation and relative anonymity increase the potential for anger, imagine what the anonymity and dehumanization of the Internet is toward virtual interaction. It has been well documented that online comment sections are also often the center of threats, heated arguments, and name calls. The psychology of Internet rage

Let's explore why this can happen. The psychology of Internet rage

In 2016, FiveThirtyEight.com performs extensive surveys of 8,500 commentators to better understand the nature of their behavior. It was found that commentators tend to be younger than 40 and predominantly male. The commentators also stated that they commented mainly to correct mistakes, add to the discussion, give their personal perspective, and represent their views. Less often, they try to be funny, praise the content, ask questions to learn, or share their own thoughts. So we can admit that there is a certain self-selection in the world of Internet commentary that would cause many comments to be opposed, even if most readers do not see the article in this way.

But why are online commentators so often seen raging in their opposition? The psychology of Internet rage

One explanation begins with the knowledge that the content that is most likely to elicit a fiery response is on the very perceived subject that people influence them personally. The majority of Internet commentators know something about the topic being discussed, and often their personal experiences are not in harmony with the author's perspective. In other words, they may feel that this direct experience makes them more knowledgeable than the author, while the author may have only a theoretical or no experience at all. Because commentators often identify with topics for this reason, the magnitude of their emotional responses can be strengthened, sometimes leading to a stronger language than they would use in the real world. This is the case even when the topic is written by experts. This can be attributed to a principle in psychology known as the "boomerang effect" - that is, people often become counterintuitive over embedded in their positions when presented with data that conflict with their beliefs. The psychology of Internet rage

Even when commentators read the entire article, hostile comments are often formed out of defiance rather than ignorance of the evidence presented by the author. The Dunning-Kruger effect might be played here. This principle states that the perception of a person of what they have read and the content that they actually read is often not well aligned. In other words, one can read articles that focus on one area, but become annoyed by the strong emotional response triggered at the beginning of the writing. The provocative nature of Internet titles is in fact designed to provoke such emotional responses to gain additional page views. One result is that many readers who come quickly feel attacked or misinterpreted by the information when it is not necessarily the purpose or focus of the article. With the inherent anonymity and alienation of Internet use, it is not difficult to see how reasonable online manners often fail to survive in such circumstances. The psychology of Internet rage

There is little that you as an individual can do about the nature of the Internet, but you can choose how you interact with it. Good mental health around Internet usage possibly revolves around limiting your usage to arena content that promotes your best self by allowing you to be productive and enjoy the time you spend on the web. If the site or post seems to upset you, it may not be worth continuing to be involved in this way. This is one aspect of online interaction where you have a lot of control. The psychology of Internet rage

The psychology of Internet rage
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