Technology is rapidly morphing and changing, but what about the humans who use it? Numerous research studies as well as reports on various aspects of the connection between technology and our physical, mental, and emotional health are examining the various factors that may impact our lives.
Can A Computer Change The Essence Of Who You Are?, by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, NPR, Feb. 13, 2015.
In this essay, the authors explore the ways that technology can impact our lives in various ways. They focus on social media and how an individual used Twitter to document and call out people on bad behavior. Pete, who set up the Twitter account, soon found that over time, his tweets became harsher and harsher. The authors report that quite a few psychologists are trying to figure out how socializing is different online. For instance, when you have a bad day and post about it on social media, you are validated by not just one friend, but many “friends” who tell you that you are all right. This type of mass positive feedback can be addictive and can change the social dynamic. This post created a pretty lively exchange of comments, so be sure to read them, too.
Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists: Trolls will lie, exaggerate, and offend to get a response, by Jennifer Golbeck Ph.D., Psychology Today, Sep. 18, 2014.
In this article, Golbeck reports on a study by some Canadian researchers published in Personality and Individual Differences which looked at people who purposely disrupt online discussion, so-called trolls. The researchers gave personality tests to over 1,200 people and surveyed their Internet commenting behavior. They found that respondents who scored high for narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism also reported that “trolling was their favorite Internet activity.’ Trolls use the Internet to harm other people for their own pleasure.
Long-term health outcomes and cost-effectiveness of a computer-tailored physical activity intervention among people aged over fifty: modelling the results of a randomized controlled trial, by Denise A. Peels et al., BMC, Oct. 23, 2014.
Rather than focusing on possible negative influences of technology, in this study a group of Dutch researchers examined how technology in the form of a computer-tailored physical activity program can improve long-term health outcomes among adults aged over fifty. “[S]timulating people to become more physically active… can result in better public health and thereby reduce health care costs.”