Feb. 11th, 2007

reenka: (Default)
I found a cute(??!) psychology article about The Online Disinhibition Effect, basically going in depth on why/how people act differently online & say things they wouldn't otherwise say (though in the end the author/s acknowledge that some people actually get more paranoid). It later notes that this is modified by 'personality variables' (ie, how much of an effect or change there is in the first place), and that's certainly my experience. I think, also, the dissociative behavior is a lot less prominent in female-centric communities like lj fandom than it is in more impersonal/anonymous male-centric geek forums-- I mean, here, we're still anonymous but most form attachments that are nonetheless 'real' enough to function like normal social bonds. It also helps that dissociative/disruptive behavior often gets censure from one's peers as being wank, drama or trolling. Or at least, fandom seems more able to deal with or control trolling without blunt use of administrative force. (But that's just a tangent.)

Regardless, to me it's sort of disconcerting to realize just how much I depend on not seeing people's reactions to my posts (boredom, I'm sure, hahah), in order to allow me to just keep blabbering on. It's the 'averted eyes' effect the article mentioned, definitely. It's interesting that the medium may allow me this while other shy/introverted people can never really get away from a constant and intense sense of their audience-- like, for every exhibitionist, there are 10 more people locking their ljs, aren't there? It seems for some people, not seeing/hearing isn't as important 'cause the reactions/people are there in their imaginations. Though the part where the article talks about entirely internalizing text to the point where people can imagine they're talking to themselves online... man. That sort of scares me. One step too close to insanity D:

I like this part, though:
    The concept of disinhibition may mistakenly lead us into thinking that what is disinhibited is more real or true than the part of us that inhibits. If we can just peel away repression, suppression, and other defense mechanisms, we will discover the "real" self that lies below.
    I like the idea of 'clusters' or 'constellations' of personality traits rather than layers where one is 'truer' than another based on which is revealed. It articulates something I've always felt-- that as long as the mask serves a real purpose & is under conscious control, there's nothing necessarily 'false' about it. "Neither is more true than the other." For once, the pluralistic approach seems more satisfying :D (I know, I'm as startled as anyone when that happens, hehe... no, I lie, I see the pluralistic approach all the time. Somehow arguing online I set more boundaries 'cause other arguments, the way they're made just seems wrong, more than anything....)
    Also, I think it's interesting to realize that by disinhibiting some aspects of oneself, one necessarily inhibits/hides others (the ones that aren't anonymous or that make up their day-to-day 'self', whatever that may mean). Really, we're always veiled by something or other, so the search for a 'real' self is a lot like chasing one's own tail unless you spend a lot of time with a person under all these different contexts. Well, if a person is complex enough, it may take a -really- long time. Though I personally like that sort of thing :>

I also like the idea that both online & offline behavior form pieces of the same puzzle-- or "reflect important aspects of his personality that surface under different conditions", but moreso the idea that the puzzle is really like a mini-cosmos with varying levels of connectedness between clusters (or 'galaxies'), and tying that in with "identity experimentation" & role-playing online... hmmm.... The thing about 'self boundaries' and how we'd often give out intimate details on ourselves but not our phone numbers also seems telling. I'm not sure of -what-, but.... *drifts off to sleep* :P

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reenka

October 2007

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