Exploring the ‘Online Disinhibition Effect’

From Colin Rule’s blog.

I’m a big fan of Daniel Goleman, and he has an interesting piece in the New York Times: “…[there is] a larger pattern plaguing the world of virtual communications, a problem recognized since the earliest days of the Internet: flaming, or sending a message that is taken as offensive, embarrassing or downright rude… thoughts expressed while sitting alone at the keyboard would be put more diplomatically — or go unmentioned — face to face.


Flaming has a technical name, the “online disinhibition effect,” which psychologists apply to the many ways people behave with less restraint in cyberspace.

In a 2004 article in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior, John Suler, a psychologist at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., suggested that several

psychological factors lead to online disinhibition: the anonymity of a Web pseudonym; invisibility to others; the time lag between sending an e-mail message and getting feedback; the exaggerated sense of self from being alone; and the lack of any online authority figure. Dr. Suler notes that disinhibition can be either benign — when a shy person feels free to open up online — or toxic, as in flaming…”

                        author

Colin Rule

Colin Rule is CEO of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. ("RIS"), home of Mediate.com, MediateUniversity.com, Arbitrate.com, CaseloadManager.com and a number of additional leading online dispute resolution initiatives.  From 2017 to 2020, Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired Modria.com, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded,… MORE >

Featured Mediators

ad
View all

Read these next

Category

5 Year-old Almost Derails Transformative Mediator

Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation by Dan SimonGuest blogger, Michelle Zaremba, has been a Transformative Mediator since the beginning of her career in 2000. Since 2009, she has...

By Dan Simon
Category

Interview with James Alfini – Views from the Eye of the Storm

This is the complete interview by Robert Benjamin with James Alfini, long-time professor of dispute resolution at Northern Illinois University, filmed as part of the Mediate.com "Views from teh Eye...

By James J. Alfini
Category

Searching for the Bright Mediation Bulb: Criticisms from Across the Pond

Thanks to Geoff Sharp at mediator blah blah for directing us to this great U.K. Mediation resource, The Mediator Magazine which is great to poke around in a little when you're...

By Victoria Pynchon

Find a Mediator

X
X
X