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Joking About OCD on Twitter Won't Gain You Any Followers
Trivializing mental illness by making jokes on Twitter may not endear your followers to you.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that is often trivialized in casual conversation and on social media. So, as it's Mental Health Awareness Week, BPS wrote up an appropriate summary of a recent study looking into how 574 people reacted to serious and joke posts on OCD.
Most of the time on Twitter users will use the hashtag #OCD to underscore their fussy behaviors or pet peeves — dramatizing their personal ticks by associating it with a mental disorder. Others openly talk about their struggles in thoughtful ways. So, what kind of user would we rather have in our feeds?
Rachel Pavelko and Jessica Myrick created several fictional Twitter accounts with a split gender ratio. The researchers made sure the accounts were complete with avatars, bios, and 15 recent tweets. Half of the fictional accounts self-identified as having OCD, stating things in their bios, like “Enjoy friends and good movies. Making my way through this world with a diagnosis of OCD.” The other accounts had a generic bio that read: "I love: friends, good movies, sports, and ice cream.”
The content of the tweets were mixed with posts unrelated to OCD and some that were. For the tweets about OCD, some were framed respectfully, writing things like:
“It’s not easy to deal with, but therapy and my great support system certainly help me everyday. #livingwithOCD.”
"Raising money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness to support my aunt in her struggle with #OCD"
However, researchers also inserted tweets on some of the fictional accounts that trivialized the disease, with posts that read: “Can’t stand all these crazy perfectionist people in my office. Not impressed that your file folders are alphabetized. #ThatsSoOCD.”
The researchers recruited 574 participants to assess the likability of the account holders and their views on OCD, in general. Pavelko and Myrick found that a small percentage of the participants self-identified as obsessive compulsive (3.9 percent) and 9.3 percent said they had a relative with the disease. While 29 percent reported they lived with some other mental illness.
The results indicated that participants found accounts that posted jokes about OCD weren't well received by most participants. The researchers wrote, “Trivialized content lowers observers’ liking and identification with Twitter users.” This was compared to users that treated the illness with respect and posted about it with sincerity. What's more, the researchers wrote that accounts that self-identified as having OCD were “admired by participants.”
Bottom line: Jokes about mental illness won't win you any Twitter popularity contests.
Read more at BPS.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
"Deepfakes" and "cheap fakes" are becoming strikingly convincing — even ones generated on freely available apps.
- A writer named Magdalene Visaggio recently used FaceApp and Airbrush to generate convincing portraits of early U.S. presidents.
- "Deepfake" technology has improved drastically in recent years, and some countries are already experiencing how it can weaponized for political purposes.
- It's currently unknown whether it'll be possible to develop technology that can quickly and accurately determine whether a given video is real or fake.
The future of deepfakes<p>In 2018, Gabon's president Ali Bongo had been out of the country for months receiving medical treatment. After Bongo hadn't been seen in public for months, rumors began swirling about his condition. Some suggested Bongo might even be dead. In response, Bongo's administration released a video that seemed to show the president addressing the nation.</p><p>But the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=324528215059254" target="_blank">video</a> is strange, appearing choppy and blurry in parts. After political opponents declared the video to be a deepfake, Gabon's military attempted an unsuccessful coup. What's striking about the story is that, to this day, experts in the field of deepfakes can't conclusively verify whether the video was real. </p><p>The uncertainty and confusion generated by deepfakes poses a "global problem," according to a <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/is-seeing-still-believing-the-deepfake-challenge-to-truth-in-politics/#cancel" target="_blank">2020 report from The Brookings Institution</a>. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense released some of the first tools able to successfully detect deepfake videos. The problem, however, is that deepfake technology keeps improving, meaning forensic approaches may forever be one step behind the most sophisticated forms of deepfakes. </p><p>As the 2020 report noted, even if the private sector or governments create technology to identify deepfakes, they will:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"...operate more slowly than the generation of these fakes, allowing false representations to dominate the media landscape for days or even weeks. "A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on," warns David Doermann, the director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at the University of Buffalo. And if defensive methods yield results short of certainty, as many will, technology companies will be hesitant to label the likely misrepresentations as fakes."</p>
Context is everything.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of new behaviours into daily routines, like physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Meanwhile, many old behaviours such as attending events, eating out and seeing friends have been put on hold.
A new study looks at how images of coffee's origins affect the perception of its premiumness and quality.
- Images can affect how people perceive the quality of a product.
- In a new study, researchers show using virtual reality that images of farms positively influence the subjects' experience of coffee.
- The results provide insights on the psychology and power of marketing.