The benign online disinhibition effect: Could situational factors induce self-disclosure and prosocial behaviors?

Abstract

The current study, which focuses on the benign effects of disinhibition, was designed as a continuation of an earlier study conducted on the toxic effects of online disinhibition (Lapidot-Lefler & Barak, 2012). Using a factorial design, the study examined the effects of three online situational factors—anonymity, invisibility, and lack of eye contact—on inducing self-disclosure and prosocial behaviors as expressions of benign online disinhibition. Random pairs of adult strangers (n = 144) discussed a dilemma and were required to reach a joint solution using online chat. Self-disclosure and prosocial behavior effects were measured using participants’ self-reports, expert judges’ ratings of chat transcripts, and textual analyses of the conversations. Results suggested that the interaction between anonymity and invisibility had a significant effect on the revealing of emotions. Lack of eye contact, the interaction between anonymity and invisibility and the interaction between lack of eye contact and invisibility had a significant effect on the inducement of first-person words. The interaction between anonymity, invisibility and lack of eye contact had significant effects on the total self-disclosure score, yet no significant effects were found for prosocial behaviors. A discussion of the findings with regard to previous research on toxic online disinhibition suggests that different factors play a role in the inducement of benign vs. toxic online disinhibition effects. More research is required to substantiate current findings and determine the nature of the contribution of each situational factor.

Bibliographic citation

Lapidot-Lefler, N., & Barak, A. (2015). The benign online disinhibition effect: Could situational factors induce self-disclosure and prosocial behaviors?. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 9(2), Article 3. doi:https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2015-2-3

Keywords

online communication; benign disinhibition; anonymity; invisibility; eye contact

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https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2015-2-3


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Journal of Medical Internet Research  vol: 21,  issue: 5,  first page: e10942,  year: 2019  
https://doi.org/10.2196/10942

21. Social Computing and Social Media. Design, Human Behavior and Analytics
Heather Michelann Quimby
ISBN 978-3-030-21902-4  Chapter 30,  first page: 414,  year: 2019  
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21902-4_30

22. Psychological and Behavioral Examinations in Cyber Security
Helen Thackray, John McAlaney
ISBN 9781522540540  chapter 11,  first page: 194,  year: 2018  
https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-5225-4053-3.ch011

23. Cyberbullying in a diverse society: comparing Jewish and Arab adolescents in Israel through the lenses of individualistic versus collectivist cultures
Noam Lapidot-Lefler, Hanan Hosri
Social Psychology of Education  vol: 19,  issue: 3,  first page: 569,  year: 2016  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-016-9339-9

24. Patterns of utilization and a case illustration of an interactive text-based psychotherapy delivery system
George C. Nitzburg, Barry A. Farber
Journal of Clinical Psychology  vol: 75,  issue: 2,  first page: 247,  year: 2019  
https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22718

25. Impact of training and student self-identification on frequency, constructiveness, and professionalism of pharmacy student evaluations of teaching
Christine L. North, Brian Henriksen, Robert D. Beckett, Kierstan Etheridge, W. Thomas Smith
Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning  vol: 10,  issue: 9,  first page: 1175,  year: 2018  
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cptl.2018.06.016

26. Youth Exposure to Hate in the Online Space: An Exploratory Analysis
Nigel Harriman, Neil Shortland, Max Su, Tyler Cote, Marcia A. Testa, Elena Savoia
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  vol: 17,  issue: 22,  first page: 8531,  year: 2020  
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228531