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.
|State||Published - 4 Aug 2015|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2007-2015 Cyberpsychology.
- Benign disinhibition
- Eye contact
- Online communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (all)