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Involuntary celibates (Incels) in the public eye : the effect of portrayal, political affiliations, and self-perceived mating success on the perception of a fringe online-community.

Ostermann, Lorenz Markus (2020) Involuntary celibates (Incels) in the public eye : the effect of portrayal, political affiliations, and self-perceived mating success on the perception of a fringe online-community.

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Abstract:Over the past decade, a fringe online community called ‘Incels’ has truck mainstream attention. Incels are mostly men who self-identify as ‘involuntary celibates’ which entails not being able to find a sexual partner. There is no research regarding how the public perceives this relatively novel group of people and which individual differences moderate perception of Incels. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to investigate how the perception of Incels is moderated by social conservatism, social liberalism, liberal feminist attitudes, self-perceived mating success and sex. Moreover, it was investigated how different types of Incel depictions (extreme vs. neutral) affect public perception of Incels. Perception was measured in light of empathic concern for Incels, and the degree to which politically charged, or neutral motives were attributed to Incels and their engagement in their online communities. The study was executed as an online survey and gathered a convenience sample consisting of 103 mostly European young adults. It was found that a violent/extremist (vs. neutral) depiction of Incels elicited less empathic concern and more politically charged motive attributions for Incels. Furthermore, social liberalism and liberal feminist attitudes were found to predict less empathic concern and more politically charged motive attributions for Incels, regardless of the type of depiction. Correspondingly, social conservatism has shown to predict more empathic concern and more neutral motive attributions for Incels. These findings provide therapeutic implications in that political affiliation of a therapist can be a crucial factor for providing effective therapy for members of the Incel community based on the theory of empathy-induced altruism.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/85329
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