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Disinhibitory and Inhibitory Effects

Disinhibitory and inhibitory effects illustrate how features of media environments influence people to express themselves more freely (disinhibitory effects) or less freely (inhibitory effects) than they normally would. Disinhibitory effects refer to communication that is open, carefree, unfiltered, or unrestrained. On the other hand, inhibitory effects describe responses that are stifled, constrained, shy, or self-conscious. Whether media environments promote inhibition or disinhibition depends on the person and the context. For example, when communicating online, some people loosen up, relax, and act more carefree. They may be bolder with their opinions, self-disclose fears in greater detail, or criticize a celebrity more readily when using social media. Generally speaking, online environments encourage greater disinhibitory effects. Other times, however, people may feel unable to express themselves in mediated ...

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