What’s behind the rising tide of anger on the internet?

Recent local and world events seem to have triggered, or perhaps have reflected and amplified increasingly polarised views. These views can be expressed online in ways that come across as angry and appear seemingly everywhere – so much so that many websites have turned off their channels for community participation because they have become too difficult to manage.

Against the background of verbal attacks becoming all too frequent online, join me as I talk with Ryan Martin, Psychology Chairperson and Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in the USA as we talk about his paper exploring the ways that anger is expressed and experienced on the internet, and our conversation about how this might apply to social media and our emotional development and processing.

Here is the link to the full paper we talk about in this week’s show:

And here is the abstract for context:

Despite evidence that anger is routinely expressed over the Internet via weblogs, social networking Web sites, and other venues, no published research has explored the way in which anger is experienced and expressed online. Consequently, we know very little about how anger is experienced in such settings. Two studies were conducted to explore how people experience and express their anger on a particular type of Web site, known as a rant-site. Study 1 surveyed rant-site visitors to better understand the perceived value of the Web sites and found that while they become relaxed immediately after posting, they also experience more anger than most and express their anger in maladaptive ways. Study 2 explored the emotional impact of reading and writing rants and found that for most participants, reading and writing rants were associated with negative shifts in mood.

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