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In what ways is interpersonal conflict in computer mediated communication different from interpersonal conflict in the real world?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

In what ways is interpersonal conflict in computer mediated communication different from interpersonal conflict in the real world? This essay will comment on the ways in which interpersonal conflict in computer mediated communication might be different from interpersonal conflict in the real world. It will look at both theories of aggression and recent research on the psychology of the Internet. It will begin by looking at the basic theories of aggression and go on to examine interpersonal conflict in the real world and interpersonal conflict in computer mediated communication. Finally it will comment on the differences between the two. In psychological research on aggression there are two basic positions: one sees aggression as a form of behaviour, which is governed by innate instincts or drives; the other sees aggression as a form of behaviour, which is acquired through individual experience. There is also an intermediate position that integrates the concept of drive and learning, this is known as the frustration-aggression hypothesis. The concept of aggression as an instinct can be seen in the framework of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud developed the idea of aggression as instinctive: a servant of the 'pleasure principle'.

Middle

As in real life, those who break these social norms will offend members of the Internet community, therefore it is important to watch and learn the rules before jumping. Interpersonal conflict in the real world and interpersonal conflict in computer mediated communication both lead to expressions of aggression. Aggression can be expressed in many different ways. In the real world verbal and physical aggression is possible, because most CMC is written this is not possible in the Internet community and so language is the prevalent form of aggression. Because the written language used in CMC is very informal it is similar to verbal communication. Therefore, written forms of aggression online resemble verbal forms of aggression in the face-to-face world. As in the real world, there are many different expressions of aggression in CMC. Flaming is a written form of verbal aggression. It resembles interpersonal conflict in the real world in that words are used to insult and hurt others: flame wars are very similar to verbal battles. Flooding is an aggressive act, which is used to disrupt online activity by flooding a user's screen with text.

Conclusion

In conclusion, theories of aggression and recent research on the psychology of the Internet show that interpersonal conflict in computer mediated communication resembles interpersonal conflict in the real world in many ways, though some differences can be found. The Internet community is divided into social groups and has a set of accepted rule or norms. Like in the real world, if these rules are broken it is a source of conflict, often leading to acts of aggression. The way in which aggression is expressed is different in the real world as there is the ability to use verbal and physical forms of aggression. However, the written form of aggression used in CMC resembles this and, as in the real world there are many different forms of aggression. Flame wars are similar to face-to-face verbal battles, and sexual and physical aggression occurs both in the real world and in CMC. Anonymity and pseudonymity mean that individuals open up much more than they would do in the real world. They may say or do things in CMC that they would never say or do in the real world. This can be a very positive thing, but in may also lead to antisocial behaviour and increased aggression.

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