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Web psychology

Психология сети

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Trolls: Episode II. The mechanism behind the mask

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Suppose a hypothetical user, a guy, needs information that can be found on a forum. Our conventional hero starts searching for it and encounters selective and targeted aggression and sometimes even harassment lunging off the screen at him for no apparent reason. Our experienced, stable, and strong-willed hero doesn’t want to be engaged in a discussion so he turns off his laptop (or tablet). "Why should I put up with that?" he mutters to himself. But something deep inside him is still responding to what’s happened.

“Show your face!”

What distinguishes trolling from the usual bickering and trash talking one finds on forums is that it can do real harm (it can inflict targeted and major damage) to whomever is being bullied at the moment. And the harm can be inflicted quickly!

The second distinctive feature of trolling is the troll’s irresistible desire (which has already become a necessity) to relentlessly put down the person they are targeting (destroy them psychologically, break their spirit, harm them, and hurt them emotionally)—this is critically important to a troll. Another interesting fact: when a troll sees any obstacles standing in the way of their goal, they overcome them through delicate, experimental work (in other words, by getting into the person’s head), and take pleasure in both their own failures and achieving the result they desire for their victim.

The third feature distinguishing trolling is the wilful infliction of pain in all senses of the word (and the longer the pain lasts and the deeper it is, the happier the troll is).

How does this work?

A troll targets four classical levels of the human psyche. Whether or not such an ill-intentioned person will be able to penetrate each of them depends on the victim.

1. Energy level (vitality)

What are the symptoms?

You’re having a normal day when suddenly, for no apparent cause, you come across some nonsensical article and feel a headache coming on. Your heart starts pumping, your hands go numb, and your body reacts strangely (discomfort and weakness). You feel incapacitated and in no condition to keep searching for information or to do any work.

Essentially this is a biological process in which the body is affected at an energy level, i.e., the body’s equilibrium is disturbed. Of course, this equilibrium needs to be restored since the body’s flow processes (blood pressure, oxygen saturation, etc.) often require external support (pills, precautionary measures, and restrictions). At this point, you don’t have the energy to take a walk or eat a quick snack (and you don't have the desire to do those things either).

What are the consequences?

Psychosomatic symptoms.

Plus: hypertension, cardiac rhythm problems, and a chronic weakening of a person’s energy level. Headaches (of different etymologies), decreased appetite, anxiety, and aggressive attacks ("Leave me alone!").

Consequences for children: neurosis, obsessions, and fears.

2. Vital level (emotions)

What are the symptoms?

You grow indignant at what you’ve read. You begin to criticise, raise objections, argue, disagree, etc. You grow excited; your nervous system goes into a borderline state, and the emotions overwhelming you tear you apart. You realise you’re not well, and a bit later you sense something is very wrong with you.

This biological process has shocked your emotional state, causing your body to get out of balance and creating stress on your nervous system. Therefore, you need to take measures to restore your vital energy. But you are upset and exhausted. Thus, both your energy and emotional levels are being affected.

What are the consequences?

Nervous breakdowns (including slow- and delayed-action), hypotension, abdominal pain, cramps in previously traumatised organs (injured or recently affected organs reacting to stress cause pain).

By inertia, problems arise with other people (conflicts, misunderstandings, prejudice, and resentment) and problems arise at work (inattention and weakness). General irritability. Problems with sleep and relaxation.

3. The mental level (thinking)

What are the symptoms?

You begin to realise how you’re feeling is a reaction to the troll's actions. You’ve figured out who is to blame and you come to realise that you are defeated and vulnerable and that there will be consequences, i.e., you realise what happened and you start to be wary of such situations (experience and communication) or change your behaviour to try to protect yourself. But the defeat you’ve suffered leaves you with certain fears and insecurities. It sows the seeds of doubt, particularly in yourself.

What are the consequences?

A decrease in self-esteem, fear, altered behaviour and decision-making principles, the start of a soul-searching process, depression, and aggravated health issues—both mental and physical. Three of your levels have been affected—the troll has reached its goal.

4. The level of human reserve forces (components of the spiritual-volitional block of the body’s defence system)

To prevent a troll from using this against its victims, we will only say that there is nothing worse than a troll affecting a person’s reserve forces. But, in turn, it is specifically this block of the body’s defence system that is the key to unlocking the protective mechanisms of the four levels for those who have encountered or will encounter trolls.

#Internet #psychology #health #trolling

Dr.Web recommends

This article was written to clarify what levels a troll can affect. If you are able to immediately recognise a troll and are mentally prepared for what it can do, you won't allow the above-mentioned consequences to happen to you. Your body will protect itself at both the energy and emotional levels and won’t allow it to harm you. Take care of yourself, and stay healthy!

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