Dehumanization and Online Aggression Essay Assignment Paper

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Dehumanization and Online Aggression Essay Assignment Paper

Assignment: Dehumanization and Online Aggression

Dehumanization has been defined as a denial of humanness to others and has been associated with aggression and a host of negative consequences (Moller & Deci, 2009). In contemporary society, the use of computer-based communications and social media outlets creates an open opportunity for people to be aggressive. For example, the increase of anonymity through technology has provided a medium for aggression. The current literature suggests that the power differential between the online aggressor and the victim is not considered enough (Bushman & Huesmann, 2010; Fiske, 2014). Both of these issues can lead to dehumanization.

For this Discussion, consider a situation in which aggressive behavior could occur online and think about how it might foster dehumanization.

a brief description of the situation you selected. Then explain three potential factors that might foster dehumanization/de-individuation and lead to online aggressive behavior. Finally, using a social psychology perspective, explain two ways online aggression could be reduced. Be specific and use the current literature to support your response.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources

When you see the President or other politicians use terms like “animals” or, even worse, “infestation” (a term usually reserved for insects), they are engaging in dehumanization. People use dehumanization to justify greed, violence, and abuse. Although dehumanization is most associated with right-wing nationalism, others sometimes use dehumanizing language too.

Dehumanization is one of eight forms of “moral disengagement” described by the psychologist Albert Bandura. Humans are capable of terrible crimes, and civilization has developed ways to inhibit aggression. However, we have not eliminated violence, in part because of techniques for creating (false) excuses and justifications for immoral behavior. All moral disengagement techniques are tricks to get people to accept behaviors that they would otherwise immediately recognize as unethical and unfair. For example, assuming most people are not big fans of child abuse, dehumanization and other moral disengagement strategies are used to trick people into accepting abuse of some children. The manipulators do it to secure power or financial gain.

Dehumanization involves redefining the targets of prejudice and violence by making them seem less human (that is, less civilized or less sentient) than other people. The classic strategy for this is to use terms like “animals” and “vermin.” Referring to people as “illegals” is also dehumanizing. You’ll see dehumanization at work in most large-scale atrocities or genocidescommitted by governments, armies, or terrorists. The main purpose is to get people to accept or even engage in behaviors that they know are wrong.

Dehumanization is not limited to political issues, however. Any time someone reduces a human being to a single characteristic, especially a negative one, they are dehumanizing. “Alcoholic,” “addict,” “diabetic,” and “schizophrenic” all rob people of the full complexity of their lives and reduce them to a symptom or disorder. Even many self-professed humanitarians used dehumanizing (and inaccurate) terms like “superpredator” in the crime scare of the 1990s. All slurs (insults based on race, gender, sexual orientation, health status or other characteristic) are also dehumanizing.

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