Horrors of the Night category archive
Frontiers in Psychology presents a study of those who participate in hate-full conduct on line and finds a common trait. The full report detailing the study’s methodology and findings is at the link; here’s a bit (emphasis added).
In the present study, we sought to investigate whether certain psychological characteristics can predict posting hating comments online. Our results showed that high scores on the Psychopathy subscale was a significant predictor of posting hating comments online; whereas age, sex, high scores on Frustration, Envy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Satisfaction with Life scales were non-significant predictors. Interestingly, high scores on the Scale of Envy almost reached a statistical significance (on the level of a strong trend).
One man saw it coming.
He even foresaw “influencers.”
An excerpt from Charlie Warzel’s article about him in last Sunday’s New York Times (emphasis added):
In subsequent obscure journal articles, Mr. Goldhaber warned of the attention economy’s destabilizing effects, including how it has disproportionate benefits for the most shameless among us. “Our abilities to pay attention are limited. Not so our abilities to receive it,” he wrote in the journal First Monday. “The value of true modesty or humility is hard to sustain in an attention economy.”
In June 2006, when Facebook was still months from launching its News Feed, Mr. Goldhaber predicted the grueling personal effects of a life mediated by technologies that feed on our attention and reward those best able to command it. “In an attention economy, one is never not on, at least when one is awake, since one is nearly always paying, getting or seeking attention.”
Jon Gabriel thinks we could ameliorate much of the incivility in our daily lives if we were just to butt the heck out. A snippet:
Today, everyone has a smartphone and records everyone else in their worst moments. There’s the guy yelling at a cashier, a driver following a commuter home because she flipped him off, and the woman losing it because the restaurant ran out of guac.
I’m not sure I buy his arguments completely, but methinks he is onto something, particularly as regards “social” media. There’s too much conclusion-jumping and not enough thought in the knees of jerks.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Dr. Eva Ritvo notes the dissonance:
We are halfway through one of the deadliest flu seasons in the last decade, and yet few of us missed a beat. We paid very little attention to the risks and took almost no special precautions. In fact, less than half of us even got the flu shot. Just now with 15 cases of Coronavirus in the U.S. and a fatality rate around the same as the flu, we are all running out and buying overpriced masks and hand sanitizers, and feeling anxious much of the day. Some are having nightmares and others are waking up in the middle of the night. The stock market was down five days in a row at a rate similar to the crash in 2008, and events around the world are being canceled in anticipation of the spread.
She goes on to offer some hints for remaining sane as the coronavirus goes, you will pardon the expression, viral.
At Science 2.0, Hank Campbell explores the role of “social” media in fomenting untruth and the sometime complicity of journalism in perpetuating the disinformation.
Methinks that “distrust but verify” is a good guideline as regards “social” media.
William Haseltine digs into the question if why, when the flu by the numbers is clearly much more dangerous, so many persons are wigging out over the coronavirus. Here’s part of what he has to say; follow the link for the rest.
Plenty of health challenges lurk at our doorstep that do more damage and take more lives than the coronavirus. Take seasonal influenza or the flu. So far, there have been no less than 19 million cases of flu-related illnesses recorded this flu season, as well as 10,000 deaths. The new coronavirus, on the other hand, has sickened upwards of 64,000 and killed almost 1,400. . . .
Why does the 2019-nCoV outbreak rile our fears so? The discrepancy has to do with how humans perceive risks. Novel threats provoke anxiety in a way that everyday threats do not, triggering a fear response that begins with the part of the brain known as the amygdala and travels via activation of “fight or flight” motor functions throughout the body.
While this evolutionarily honed instinct for the unfamiliar and foreboding can sharpen the senses—a sort of physiological priming for confrontation with a predator—it can also confuse the mind.
The International Air Transport Association reports that the skies are getting fiendlier. A nugget:
“We saw an increase in incidents where all other forms of de-escalation had been exhausted and the cabin crew had no other option but to restrain the unruly passenger for the safety of everyone onboard,” he said.
The numbers break down to approximately 30 serious “unruly passenger” incidents on U.S. flights every day, Forbes reported.
That’s 30 a day out of over 40,000 flights in the US, so it’s an inconsequential percentage, but still too high. The story goes on to point out that alcohol is often a factor. Few things ruin a air trip more than being trapped on a plane with an obstreperous drunk–not even a crying baby, because, remember, the baby can’t help it.