Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: A Hypothesis About Technological Addictions

  1. #1
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ceti Alpha V
    Posts
    9,142

    A Hypothesis About Technological Addictions

    I speak here of texting, twitter, and yes, even forums. I speak of youtube comments, reddit, tumblr and facebook. What is it that makes them so habituating?

    My hypothesis is that it is similar to the reasons we get road rage. Which is to say not that it is immediately or obviously parallel, but that both are consequences of social interactions with limitations our brains are not wired to handle.

    The orthodoxy on road rage is that near misses and merges and maneuvers that cause one vehicle to enter the personal space of another driver (psychologically speaking) don't get resolved properly. If you accidentally step on someone's toes, or brush against them in passing, you can have an immediate interaction to soothe the grievance. What is needed varies by culture, of course, but at the very least, you can acknowledge each other.

    With cars, there is no such interaction, so our animal nature kicks in and perceives it as a threat, as some asshole asserting dominance, and thus, rage develops.

    My hypothesis is that modern technological communication, our modern text driven communications in particular, are very different from what we are wired to accept. We are wired for communication to be more immediate, but these interfaces are asynchronous. Consequently, the lag between comment/post, and feedback can create a sort of anticipatory anxiety. Subconsciously, I think we are processing these as literal waits for response.

    I think it gets overlooked because it doesn't seem like a real change. I mean, we realize it's a change, that we have amazing communication infrastructure available and are able to communicate psuedo-rapidly across enormous distances. The reason I say it is psuedo-rapid is related to the difference we are overlooking in these mediums of communication. It is rapid in the sense of distribution, not in the sense of communicability.

    The distribution speed gives our subconscious a false sense immediacy. I think internally, many people end up ranking it at about the same as voice communication, which is where things go strange, and why the waiting for reply, confirmation of message receipt and even affirmation as described by the bid model of interpersonal communication and intimacy. (Presented here as snipped from here.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Excerpt from abstract
    The bid is an initiation of interaction (Driver and Gottman 2004). It is the way a person expresses “I want to feel connected to you,” although it may have an endless variety of forms and content. That is, bids are often not a literal request for attention and connection but may be ostensibly about something else. For example, a woman might say to her husband, “Honey, I had a bad day today.” On the surface, this is a statement of fact. It provides the husband with information. The bid may be verbal or nonverbal. A bid may be extended nonverbally, for example with a touch (maybe playful or flirty), a facial expression (a smile, a roll of the eyes, or cocked eyebrows), or a sound (a laugh, sigh, or snort). If the person chooses to connect by verbal means, the form might be a question, a simple statement of perceived fact, an explicit invitation, or a fragment of a thought or feeling. A bid can be laced with an emotional overtone using tone of voice, word choice, or expression.

    The response is how the other person handles the bid. Besides the specific content, a response can communicate that the respondent is paying attention to and cares about the bidder. Intimate partners generally expect their bids to be met with understanding and empathy. In the example, if the husband simply responded “Thanks for the information,” the wife would be greatly disappointed and probably irritated. She expects him to respond to her underlying need for his support and attention. Something like, “Oh, I’m sorry, honey. What happened?” Responses can be characterized as turning toward, turning away from, or turning against the bidder (Driver and Gottman 2004). A partner who turns toward may acknowledge the other’s statement, make eye contact, or touch the other’s hand. A partner who ignores the other’s statement or averts eye contact is turning away. Turning against the other may involve active negative responses such as responding contemptuously to a statement.
    I think that that facet of our social nature combined with the hyperpersonal model of written communication can create a potentially unhealthy fixation on using the media because internally, we are waiting to find out how our bid was received, and because of the strange way we internalize these communications, we rationally understand it will take a while, but emotionally need to have that waiting end.

    Where we get deceived is that when we think about these communications, we consciously observe them as like books, letters, and other sources of written media with which we are familiar. But not only are most of our old text communications effectively not bi-directional (books, letters to the editor, articles) but the distribution system was known slow. That is no longer the case. When I hit post, this is visible to a potential audience of billions nigh immediately. Just as text interactions create the hyperpersonal sense of accelerated and improbably strong intimacy, the immediacy of publishing creates a false sense that our audience has received our message, and is able to respond, with equal immediacy. Just like talking.


    Thoughts? Criticisms? Interrogatives? Queries for clarification?
    Last edited by Hephaestus; 02-06-2015 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Spelling and a desperate attempt to make it moar concise.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  2. #2
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Mañana
    Posts
    7,107
    INTPx Award Winner
    These social platforms thrive mainly on one thing, which is ego. It's like talking to a room full of people every waking hour, and expecting to be paid attention to. People may get addicted to attention, I suppose. Attention for attention's sake.

    Before I started using the internet, I used to write letters every week, for 8 years. My "need" was to express the types of thoughts I couldn't express on a superficial level with people around me. In that sense it was a lot like keeping a diary, except I wouldn't end up with a copy. I don't think this need has changed, but I do think that the platforms available to us now tend to downgrade, by their immediate nature, the quality of what we share. We're not encouraged to think about what we're saying. Most of what we say in a day isn't interesting. Most of it is bullshit, and we communicate too much. We should talk to each other less.

    Sometimes I see people whatsapping on the subway at 9:00am and I have to think, "What in God's name does this person have to say to someone at this hour? Their day hasn't even started yet!" But anywhere you go in public, a large percentage of people are looking at their phones. It's kind of depressing.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

  3. #3
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ceti Alpha V
    Posts
    9,142
    I think, as a continuation of my hypothesis, that that behavior is somewhat accounted for--because of the open ended nature of the feedback, and the asynchronicity, people never 'hang up'. It's why people are increasingly alone together. They're still psychologically in their asynchronous conversation.

    He typed on his phone in a waiting room surrounded by people.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  4. #4
    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
    Type
    INFP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    near a castle
    Posts
    3,477
    I always just attributed my internet addiction to the dopamine (?) hit I get from reps, likes, upvotes, etc. It makes me all giddy and Pavlovian. I'm getting addicted to quora now even though I hate it, just because of that damn upvote button.

    I'm trying to turn to bananas instead, because they have a healthier method of dopamine delivery than the internet.

    However, your theory is fascinating. I can relate to the feeling of anticipatory anxiety you mention, and I can see how that feeling can perpetuate addiction. On the flipside, this asynchronous style of communication gives me a refreshing feeling of control; so it gives me one type of anxiety and frees me from another. And I guess that's what all addictions worth their salt try to instill, an endless relief/anxiety loop. I have as long as I want to digest social information and think about how to respond to it, that's the relief.

    tangent-- I have these weird habit-- when I'm walking up/down steps next to someone, I have to match their footsteps with my own. It disturbs me to ascend/descend at a different pace from them. When I was younger, I also used to try to perfectly match paces/"march" with the person walking next to me, but people thought that was weird so I stopped. I still try to do an equivalent thing in conversations-- I'm highly conscious of the "pace" and rhythm of conversations and I get a lot of anxiety from either "lagging" or "moving too fast." So the internet provides a welcome and addictive retreat from the demands of synchronized communication.

    tangent-- whether due to a sudden onset of social confidence related to growing up, or a (hypo)manic blip, or a weird mixture of both, I've started to overcome this and have found myself significantly less addicted to the internet. These last few weeks have been a steady onslaught/bloody battleground of social butterflying, experimentation, and a few objectively cringe-worthy events but idgaf, I am very pleased with myself for turning off the sound of silence. This last hibernation period went on far too long.

    *time to log off now*
    "Better not to feel too much until the crisis ends—and if it never ends, at least we’ll have suffered a little less, developed a useful dullness...The constant—and very real—fear of being hurt, the fear of death, of intolerable loss, or even of “mere” humiliation, leads each of us, the citizens and prisoners of the conflict, to dampen our own vitality, our emotional and intellectual range, and to cloak ourselves in more and more protective layers until we suffocate." - Toni Morrison

  5. #5
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ceti Alpha V
    Posts
    9,142
    Cool! You're on-board for the next segment of the hypothesis. The part I didn't get to before my ability to type ended, and that I didn't want to express using a phone.

    I think the rep/upvote system is an enormous factor, because it's a stand-in for non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is very important to people and in some subtle ways, critical to human happiness. The paper I linked to remarks that the context of nonverbal communication is at least as important as the words themselves. In their example they note that intonation and facial expression are the difference in determining whether the simple statement "You look beautiful" is a compliment or an insult.

    We've all experience the bite of text being misinterpreted--deadpan delivery can be a tough sell in person without a touch of ham for context, but any form of sarcasm or other verbal irony can end up having unexpected consequences because text is void of the common clues. Emoticons are what we usually think of to fill in our non-verbal cues, and for that particular vacuum in text interaction, they are useful. But reps and upvotes fill another vacuum.

    Reps and upvotes, it should come as no surprise, replace a variety of non-word communication showing response to bids. They replace laughs, smiles, nods, and dramatic facial expressions. They replace substitute for eyebrows: furrowed, waggled and lifted. They stand in for the thoughtful pursing of lips, the lift of a finger, the hug, the fist pound, the highfive, and various other ways we acknowledge that we are enjoying each other's company. True, emoticons, smileys, and linked visual media also perform this role--funny how much we rely on images of faces to express what our faces aren't available to show--but they do one more thing: they do it privately which is a trigger for a sense of intimacy. There are compliments you make publicly, but the ones I think most people love most, are the ones made privately.

    Though, why a whispered "attaboy" means more on average than a cheer from the crowd is a question I leave for the philosophers. I also leave it to the philosophers to decide if I meant an isolated cheer from a subset of at least one but less than the majority, or if I mean an actual crowd of cheerers. (There's a word you don't see everyday.) Likewise, I leave it to the philosophers to debate the accuracy of my observation, and whether it applies to friends vs. strangers, or if a soft word of encouragement from a stranger means more than a shout of appreciation from a stranger.

    But what I do not leave to the philosophers is whether or not a private communication is more intimate than a public one. Instead, I invite you to observe that the whisper at the end of Lost in Translation is a far more intimate than the boom box scene in Say Anything.

    So yeah, you're getting a rush. That's what they're there for. That and they allow people to communicate without having anything to say other than, "I like you and enjoyed sharing this idea with you." Or, in some cases (minority here I think, but possibly the majority on Youtube or any remotely controversial topic on a newsmedia site), "Fuck off."



    Sooo.... here's the rub. How can this be tested?

    The most basic test is: noobs who don't get enough response tend to vanish--in every online community. Usually. But it lacks empiricism. I'm open to suggestions on how to improve it.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  6. #6
    -
    Type
    xxxx
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    5,101
    Dig your theory, Hephaestus. One aspect to expand on: it's not only people who do not get enough response who vanish, but probably also those who receive too much of it and find it overwhelming, time-consuming, or otherwisely saturating. A bell curve, in other words.

  7. #7
    eyeing you rabbit warrior kitsune's Avatar
    Type
    xxxx
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    a vast moor in the old world brimming with jackrabbits where three rivers decussate
    Posts
    1,338
    I'd like to understand why online textual communication is hyperpersonal.

    The wiki was tl;dr for my not-yet-awake brain, so I've come up with my own temporary theory. For me, writing requires so much more effort than talking. I can blab on and on in real life and entertain most people with my animated facial expressions, vocal tones and gestures while my content is mostly unpolished. Talking is just an endless draft version of thoughts which mature in conversation and I don't feel much pressure. But writing on the other hand, when it comes to writing, I have to take into consideration what point I want to make, ensure my thoughts are logical, edit for grammar and word selection, style, efficiency and underline my emotion while remaining diplomatic and non-judgmental. It's a shitload of effort.

    As I assume for others writing is also time-consuming and full of endeavor, I perceive anything written to me or for me to be just as tedious and I therefore appreciate the hell out of it. It carries much more meaning than had that same person picked up the phone and called me and told me the same thing.


    Prime example: my login timed out automatically while composing this one little <200 word reply.
    Last edited by kitsune; 02-07-2015 at 02:59 PM.

    "
    'I cannot play with you,' the fox said. 'I am not tamed.'" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince (1943)

    REMINDER TO SELF WHEN DEALING WITH THE RABBIT WARRIOR: "All warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu,
    The Art of War

  8. #8
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ceti Alpha V
    Posts
    9,142
    Quote Originally Posted by kitsune View Post
    I'd like to understand why online textual communication is hyperpersonal.

    The wiki was tl;dr for my not-yet-awake brain, so I've come up with my own temporary theory. For me, writing requires so much more effort than talking. I can blab on and on in real life and entertain most people with my animated facial expressions, vocal tones and gestures while my content is mostly unpolished. Talking is just an endless draft version of thoughts which mature in conversation and I don't feel much pressure. But writing on the other hand, when it comes to writing, I have to take into consideration what point I want to make, ensure my thoughts are logical, edit for grammar and word selection, style, efficiency and underline my emotion while remaining diplomatic and non-judgmental. It's a shitload of effort.

    As I assume for others writing is also time-consuming and full of endeavor, I perceive anything written to me or for me to be just as tedious and I therefore appreciate the hell out of it. It carries much more meaning than had that same person picked up the phone and called me and told me the same thing.


    Prime example: my login timed out automatically while composing this one little <200 word reply.
    I agree. And the wiki is a bit much for the non-tired brain. I linked it primarily to reference that text communiques have a known risk factor for heightened sense of intimacy--though the thing that the wiki seems to leave off, is that that heightened pace is dangerous because it can be one sided, and even when it isn't, is readily a case of both people thinking they have greater interpersonal intimacy than they actually have.

    I think you're correct that the known deliberacy in writing is a strong factor, but I don't think it's the only factor, or even the main factor because the common case where people get into trouble, is that the author is the one who has the stronger attachment.

    My hypothesis about why text is hyperpersonal is an application of what I think of as "how to befriend neurotic animals". The idea is this: social animals give credit for positive interactions. At their most basic, positive interactions are interactions where no one is hurting each other. The more time is spent in each other's company without causing harm, the more social animals trust that they can be in each other's company safely. In time, that provides a foundation for a bond.

    I think that people tend to internalize the time they spend writing personal messages as time spent with the person they are writing the message to. They do this because they are focusing on the person as they write. In their imagination, they are talking to the person, trying on different ways of expressing themselves against a mental model of what that person is like, and actively trying to sculpt a positive experience for their recipient.

    Then, they send the letter, and step into the tension of waiting for a reply.

    The recipient spends dramatically less time reading the letter. The time spent reading, provided the letter didn't cause any anguish, also counts as time spent not hurting, but the time spent isn't symmetrical.

    With verbal interaction, a minute of talking means the recipient experiences a minute of listening, and both parties tally a minute of not being hurt. The main deviation that will occur is if one party or the other has reason to value those interactions more highly, but for the most part, I think things come out about equal.

    By comparison, with a text interactions, there could be hours of intent and focus for the author, and only part of one hour for the recipient. This is offset in the case of multiple readings, but in the case of computer mediated communication, not by as much as you might think. I think the sneaky difference in computer mediated communication is that the communicator gets to re-experience the event by re-reading what they've written. I think that time counts too--perhaps not as strongly, but I think it counts.

    When the reply comes, and is positive and affirming, there's a huge rush as the anxiety of waiting is relieved, and at that point, and it's like a bunch of positive interaction time get's out of escrow all at once.

    The gist is this: with text based communications, time spent thinking about a person translates into time spent with the person, and writing to an audience necessarily fixates your attention and thoughts on that audience.

    Your most (potentially) dangerous case, in terms of having an unreasonable expectation of bond, is the asynchronous asymmetric communication. If you write novellas and they write one line responses, odds are good you're going to be more invested than they are. Arguably, this is obvious even without the analysis and speculation about why that is psychologically.


    Aaaand, that might tie into why Twitter users reputedly are less committed in relationships. The profile of a tweet vs a letter in terms of time spent and specificity of audience focus are very different. I don't mean to pick on Twitter users, just note that the nature of the thinking and time spent and the level of interaction is very different. It's shorter, and less personal, and much lower in interpersonal interaction and I think that if you focus on impersonal communication, that's going to affect your relationship with communication, and thus relationships insofar as relationships are based on interactive communications.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  9. #9
    eyeing you rabbit warrior kitsune's Avatar
    Type
    xxxx
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    a vast moor in the old world brimming with jackrabbits where three rivers decussate
    Posts
    1,338
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Aaaand, that might tie into why Twitter users reputedly are less committed in relationships. The profile of a tweet vs a letter in terms of time spent and specificity of audience focus are very different. I don't mean to pick on Twitter users, just note that the nature of the thinking and time spent and the level of interaction is very different. It's shorter, and less personal, and much lower in interpersonal interaction and I think that if you focus on impersonal communication, that's going to affect your relationship with communication, and thus relationships insofar as relationships are based on interactive communications.
    !

    Hadn't thought about Twitter users that way. Followers, though, they spend lots of time thinking about the tweets they read. But I suppose I am in a superficial situation. I have a fake account and follow one user who I do not know in real life and with whom I do not interact. It's part of a project for class. I don't feel attached to him, although I probably will at some point as I will be working on this project for a while. And oddly, I don't feel so curious about him either. There's a huge distance between us. Probably because I purposely don't interact with him. In following your thesis that it is the author who spends time thinking about this person (the intended recipient of communication), were I to interact with him, a feeling of intimacy could grow.
    Last edited by kitsune; 02-07-2015 at 06:29 PM.

    "
    'I cannot play with you,' the fox said. 'I am not tamed.'" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince (1943)

    REMINDER TO SELF WHEN DEALING WITH THE RABBIT WARRIOR: "All warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu,
    The Art of War

  10. #10
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
    Type
    INTP
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    mosquito-infested hell
    Posts
    2,365
    I definitely think you're onto something.

    These past couple of days have been unusual for me in that I've been posting relatively frequently. Usually I just swing by to see if there are any interesting threads. If there are, I read them but seldom comment, ostensibly because what I would say has already been said, better, by someone else (*cough*@RogerMexico). Contributing to this whole pattern is the fact that, being the single mother of a toddler, my time online is sporadic at best, so I have a real sense that I cannot participate fully in any conversation. I can't devote the time to crafting my responses as I would like, and I can't respond to comments in a timely manner. There's definitely some social anxiety around my participation.

    Way way back on INTPc, I definitely had periods of addiction. I attributed this to the "random reward" model. Like a rat pushing a lever to get a treat, I never knew when the refresh button was going to produce something I wanted. But thinking back on it, if I myself had posted something, there was certainly an "anxiously waiting" emotion, and I'm certain that I did over-invest emotionally in my own posts and others' responses to them.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •