Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Society & Culture
  3. Social Issues

Cyberpsychology: Social media and behavior trends

See also

Which couples who meet on social networking sites are most likely to marry? Nearly 7% of Americans married between 2005-2012 met on social networking sites. How those couples compare to couples who met through other types of online meetings or the "old-fashioned" way in terms of age, race, frequency of Internet use, and other factors is explored in an article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

In "First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005-2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites," Jeffrey Hall, PhD, University of Kansas, Lawrence, describes the characteristics that are more common among recently married individuals who met online via social networking sites (SNS), according to the April 3, 2014 news release, "Which couples who meet on social networking sites are most likely to marry?."

How will trends change? It depends on various groups of people using social media more frequently as time passes

"Facebook use grew dramatically during the 2005-2012 time period studied," says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA. "It will be useful to continue to observe how these trends change as various groups of individuals become more frequent users of SNS," says Dr. Wiederhold.

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is a peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with Open Access options and in print that explores the psychological and social issues surrounding the Internet and interactive technologies, plus cybertherapy and rehabilitation. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

Public exposure and an increase in corrections to the scientific record

You also may be interested in another study, according to an April 3, 2014 news release, "Public exposure leads to an increase in corrections to the scientific record." Individuals who wish to identify potential problems in the scientific literature can either choose to report their grievances privately (with the expectation that the issue will be appropriately handled) or they can post their accusations publicly.

Clearly there are many reasons for dealing with unproven and potentially damaging allegations privately, however a new study suggests that when this route is followed a much smaller percentage of the allegations result in a correction to the literature. Individuals who wish to identify potential problems in the scientific literature can either choose to report their grievances privately (with the expectation that the issue will be appropriately handled) or they can post their accusations publicly.

Clearly there are many reasons for dealing with unproven and potentially damaging allegations privately, however a new study suggests that when this route is followed a much smaller percentage of the allegations result in a correction to the literature

The study, "Internet publicity of data problems in the bioscience literature correlates with enhanced corrective action," published online April 3, 2014 in PeerJ, was conducted by Paul S. Brookes, an associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate NY. Brookes examined the status of nearly 500 scientific articles which were submitted to an anonymous blog which he ran during 2012, devoted to highlighting potential problems in published life sciences articles.

Some 274 of these papers were blogged about, describing their problems in detail. However, allegations on a further 223 papers never saw the light of day, due to the blog being shuttered by legal threats in early 2013. Comparing these two sets of papers for which concerns were voiced, for example, 'public' and 'private' sets – revealed striking differences in their current status.

Despite all the problems having been reported to the journals in question, on average the publicly discussed papers were retracted or corrected 7-fold more than those for which the allegations were never publicized. This was despite similar properties between the paper sets, including the number of alleged problems per paper, the impact factor of the journals they were published in, and the number of lab' groups they originated from. Brookes says, according to the April 3, 2014 news release, "Public exposure leads to an increase in corrections to the scientific record," that "although a lot of people have assumed that shining more light leads to more action, no-one has actually tested this hypothesis".

In addition to more corrections and retractions, the blogged-about papers saw more combined action on the papers of particular laboratory groups. In other words, if a laboratory group had one paper with problems requiring action by a journal, this was associated with more actions on their other papers. Brookes suggests that editors may be more inclined to act on a paper if they see the sum-total of a particular lab group's problems, whereas an isolated paper may not be deemed important enough to act on, if corroborating evidence about other papers from the same group remains hidden.

Brookes was quick to highlight some important caveats to his study. First, the small sample size, focused mainly on image data in the life-sciences, makes it unclear if these findings are generalizable to the scientific literature at large. Second, due to the nature of the data collection, and the fact that the raw data set for the study is essentially a list of problems which could be interpreted as specific allegations of scientific misconduct, the study is unlikely to be repeated.

The study has some important implications for the burgeoning field of "post-publication peer review", which encompasses a number of initiatives, some of which allow their users to leave anonymous comments about any published paper

These efforts and a number of blogs on the subject have drawn criticism, but results such as those of Brookes' study suggest that these approaches can result in a greater rate of corrections to the scientific literature. Brookes described the current system for post-publication peer review as a work in progress, stating, according to the news release, that "there's a need for this type of discussion, but the jury is still out on exactly what the best system is, who should be allowed to comment, will they be afforded anonymity, and of course who will pay for and police all this activity." For further information see, Brookes PS. (2014) Internet publicity of data problems in the bioscience literature correlates with enhanced corrective action. PeerJ 2:e313.

Prescence and anxiety during virtual social interactions

You also may be interested in another study, "Sense of presence and anxiety during virtual social interactions between a human and virtual humans." In that study researchers found that virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) has been shown to be effective in treatment of anxiety disorders.

Yet, there is lack of research on the extent to which interaction between the individual and virtual humans can be successfully implanted to increase levels of anxiety for therapeutic purposes. How would a human interact with virtual humans in a virtual reality encounter? Another issue is the boundary between what can become reality and what's only virtual reality. If science fiction of the past becomes reality of the present and future, how do images such as costume and appearance change virtual reality into real human actions?

Why do mass, school, civilian, terrorist, and mall shooters frequently wear black?

And in still another study, "men in black" often represent secret government guys sent to find other people, ET aliens, or act as bounty hunters. Is it because blood on black clothing can't be seen so quickly? Or is it about the concept all around us in film, video, and literature where many successful films and pieces of literature play with the concepts of light versus dark, as well as themes of the wounded hero, the outcast, and the devil. Or if the police profile males wearing black, can they be accused of profiling by costume?

Viewers still have TV images of terrorists wearing black before they behead captured American journalists or soldiers. Black clothing on men and women is supposed to represent elegance, such as wealthy people dressed in black, perhaps with touches of white clothing, jewels, and conservative attire at meetings or fundraising events, such as "black tie" events where men wear black business suits and women wear black cocktail dresses and jewelry. People used to show up at the opera dressed in black. These days, black costumes on males signals something else than elegance and conservative attire.

So why do some individuals wear black when doing nasty deeds?

Or is it that animals and plants that die turn black before they go to dust. What's with this black costume concept and those about to do criminal acts or take on a challenge? Batman wears black, not Superman. And pirates fly a black flag with a skull and bones, at least in the movies. Black costumes on perpetrators and mass shootings is what people see more often on TV news and in films associated with males in black clothing or costumes complete with weapons as attire.

The latest study names the theme of black costuming with the following characters: Darth Vader and Darth Maul in the Star Wars movies, Neo in the film The Matrix, firing his weapons in flowing black leather with dark sunglasses, Sauron, the ringwraiths, and the orc hordes in the Lord of the Rings, Stephen King's character of Walter (the Man in Black) in The Dark Tower series,  J.K. Rowling's Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters in The Harry Potter series, Batman in the movie the Dark Knight, Todd McFarlane's character Spawn, adorned in red and black surrounded by flames, Brandon Lee in The Crow, The school shooting in season one of the television show American Horror Story, Bram Stoker's Dracula (or any vampire for that matter; see Lestat and Marius from Ann Rice's novels, the Twilight series, etc.). Not mentioned in the article, is the latest TV series, "The Vikings" that opens with the image of a black crow eyeing the audience, the study notes.

On the spiritual side of the big picture, nuns and priests wear black representing spirituality, but brides usually wear white, representing purity, and various monks in other religions such as Buddhism wear orange or yellow, and some brides in India wear red. So what with the males in black (like the mysterious men in black in movies about government guys following characters in films on unexplained phenomenon).

The point of the article is whether males in black might be pointed out as perhaps potential shooters before they commit mass violence?

In many recent incidents of premeditated mass shooting the perpetrators have been male and dressed in black, and may share other characteristics that could be used to identify potential shooters before they commit acts of mass violence, says a new article, “Costuming, Misogyny, and Objectification as Risk Factors in Targeted Violence,” recently published in the journal Violence and Gender.

What about females in black, such as the popular "little black dress" a woman can wear to a variety of social events, especially popular in San Francisco. The little black dress can go almost anywhere. The article, though, is about risk factors and males in black apparel. It's like the grim reaper in black is compared to Santa Claus in red with touches of green, and white. At weddings white tuxedos are becoming more popular than black tuxedos, which show up at funerals, but usually not as a tuxedo, but a business suit. And executives usually wear grey or navy blue business suits rather than black for business meetings or job interviews.

Risk factors related to the antihero, dark-knight persona adopted by these individuals are explored in an article in the journal Violence and Gender, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available on the Violence and Gender website.

In the article “Costuming, Misogyny, and Objectification as Risk Factors in Targeted Violence,” Brian Van Brunt, EdD and W. Scott Lewis, The NCHERM Group, LLC (Malvern, PA), suggest reasons why persons who commit mass shootings are drawn to dark popular culture imagery, how these cultural factors may contribute to the violence, and what risk factors could be useful to law enforcement and behavioral investigation teams seeking to identify individuals who might be preparing for an attack.

“‘Objectification’ of victims and ‘costuming’ are specific offender behaviors that will give threat assessment teams throughout the world greater insights into the motivation of mass shooters and just how ceremonial their preparations are,” says Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Violence and Gender and Senior FBI Profiler/Criminal Investigative Analyst (ret.), according to the April 3, 2014 news release, Dress and behavior of mass shooters as factors to predict and prevent future attacks. “The value of this information in being able to identify these offenders beforehand based on their behavior so that we can prevent future acts of mass murder is very significant.”

Violence and Gender is the only peer-reviewed journal focusing on the understanding, prediction, and prevention of acts of violence. For further information check out the article, "Costuming, Misogyny, and Objectification as Risk Factors in Targeted Violence," by Brian Van Brunt, EdD and W. Scott Lewis, The NCHERM Group, LLC (Malvern, PA), suggest reasons why persons who commit mass shootings are drawn to dark popular culture imagery, how these cultural factors may contribute to the violence, and what risk factors could be useful to law enforcement and behavioral investigation teams seeking to identify individuals who might be preparing for an attack.

You may also wish to see, "Why Were Young Males Behind Recent Attacks on Schools and Public Gatherings? A Roundtable Discussion in Violence and Gender (04/02/2014)." Or on another note, you may want to check out, "Which Couples Who Meet on Social Networking Sites Are Most Likely to Marry? (04/03/2014)." Another fascinating study is "Playing with heart and soul…and genomes: sports implications and applications of personal genomics." (Wagner JK. (2013) PeerJ 1:e120.)

Through research papers, roundtable discussions, case studies, and other original content, the Journal critically examines biological, genetic, behavioral, psychological, racial, ethnic, and cultural factors as they relate to the gender of perpetrators of violence. Led by Editor-in-Chief Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, Forensic Behavioral Consultant and Senior FBI Profiler/Criminal Investigative Analyst (ret.), Violence and Gender explores the difficult issues that are vital to threat assessment and prevention of the epidemic of violence. Violence and Gender is published quarterly online with Open Access options and in print, and is the official journal of The Avielle Foundation.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking and Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website. The publisher of these journals is Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News.

Advertisement

Related Videos: