How individuals communicate on the internet has been influenced by the rise of social networking and the introduction of Web 2.0. Contentious sociopolitical arguments containing false polarization and confirmation bias, accompanied by egocentric and ethnocentric thinking are common. Ideological radicalization has also increased, as evidenced by the prevalence of ISIS and White supremacists on sites such as Twitter and Reddit. One consequence is the online practice known as flaming—intensely aggressive, personal verbal attacks. To reduce its occurrence, both macro- and micro-solutions should be implemented. On the macro-level, social networks and related online organizations should establish and enforce guide lines while not threatening free speech. On a micro-level, individuals can reduce the tendency to negatively react to oppositional viewpoints by participating in self-affirming activities. Self-polarization bias can be reduced by being aware of the similarities between ideologies across groups and individuals.

Included in

Psychology Commons