Are there any cases or studies of a high self monitor who intuitively chooses to act "by impulse" in order to reform said impulse?

In other words when the HSM behaves as a low self monitor they selectively and willingly embrace a low self presentation in order to challenge (or embrace flaws) within their own pride, ego, or some other aspect of psychology.

Additional questions

  • What else can be said of this situation?

  • What other questions, or background is necessary to analyze this occurrence?

  • Is this behavior indicative of other problems worth investigating? (e.g. morally flawed premise for taking such action)

  • What negative effects could there be on the ego and super-ego by behaving this way over long periods of time?


At a young age, this HSM may have discovered that behaving as a low-self-presentation allowed them to abdicate responsibility. This was later corrected in adulthood when the subject decided to actively pursue accountability on past and present behavior... thus leading to overall character improvement.

  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like an ego-dystonic HSM. And I'm pulling your leg here, I haven't heard of this. $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Fizz I'm open to researching anything, and even though that's a joke, it's insightful. Any other terms worth researching would be beneficial. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2017 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ If I am to cast a broad net, disinhibition is context-dependant. Most people are more disinhibited on-line (than in real life), and some not in a good way. And another thing that comes to mind is a folk theory of BDSM behavior, namely that some "high-control" business people want to let go and be controlled in the dungeon. YMMV how true/explanatory the latter is. $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ The first seems to bear the most significance. The subject was exposed to chat rooms in the early 90's, and from there an obsession developed. Over time nature of the interactions went from sporadic aggressive to a more calm, composed, other-focused demeanor. Does repeat exposure to this form of online disinhibition have a term for when it leaves the online world? I'm guessing some aspect of this also occurs with avid book readers seeking fulfillment, refuge, or expression. Any ideas? @fizz $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2017 at 22:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Re: "Does repeat exposure to this form of online disinhibition have a term for when it leaves the online world? " I'm not recalling any studies on on-line EM training, but all sorts of skills can be trained/learned in a virtual environment, even if said environment is not 100% like the real world. So it's quite possible in theory. I'll see tomorrow if I can find some concrete research on this. Actually something came up pretty quickly, but I don't have time to read it right now: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26192227 $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


So basically the question eventually became about the influences of on-line activities on changing (improving in this case) one's behavior if not downright one's personality in real life.

There is a body of evidence that this is not uncommon, especially with children, adolescents and young adults. It's not an incredibly well research topic, so I'll mention a few papers and their findings:

Prosocial behavior of anonymous peers (confederates) exerts a profound influence on college students’ participation in a signature campaign and money donation, whereas the reading of a prosocial paragraph has no effect. Furthermore, no participants reported peer influence as a reason for engaging in prosocial behavior.

The experimental study using U.S. university undergraduates demonstrated a short-term causal impact of playing prosocial games on helpful behavior (and of playing violent games on hurtful behavior). Short-term experiments like this are especially important for at least two reasons: (a) they provide a strong case for causality; (b) they reveal underlying processes likely to influence long-term effects. The correlational study using Singaporean junior high schoolers demonstrated the predicted associations among video game habits and “real world” prosocial and antisocial behaviors and traits. Such correlational studies are important because: (a) they provide an opportunity for a theoretical model to fail; (b) they allow tests of the predicted association with long-term consequential behavioral patterns and traits; and (c) they allow tests of some plausible alternative explanations. The longitudinal study using Japanese children and adolescents demonstrated effects of earlier prosocial game play habits on later prosocial behavior. Such studies allow strong causal inferences, primarily by ruling out many alternative explanations that rely on individual differences in trait aggressiveness and in interests that exist at the first assessment time period; they also allow testing of the theoretical model with consequential real-world outcome measures. The bi-directionality of the present longitudinal results also demonstrates that the often-asked chicken and egg question is overly simplistic. These data suggest that playing prosocial games tends to increase prosocial behavior tendencies, and that prosocial tendencies tend to lead to selection of prosocial games. This clearly has implications for the parallel argument about violent media and aggression.

A bit of an aside here, but their conclusions about violence are a bit simplistic. From a later study:

Research on video games has yielded consistent findings that violent video games increase aggression and decrease prosocial behavior. However, these studies typically examined single-player games. Of interest is the effect of cooperative play in a violent video game on subsequent cooperative or competitive behavior. Participants played Halo II (a first-person shooter game) cooperatively or competitively and then completed a modified prisoner's dilemma task to assess competitive and cooperative behavior. Compared with the competitive play conditions, players in the cooperative condition engaged in more tit-for-tat behaviors-a pattern of behavior that typically precedes cooperative behavior. The social context of game play influenced subsequent behavior more than the content of the game that was played.

I haven't found the exact study this refers to, but the Guardian says

Joseph Kahne, a professor of education at Mills College in California, studied 400 teenagers over three years. Kahne found that teens who participated in fan or hobby sites were more likely than other kids to do real-world volunteering. Interestingly, this wasn't true of being on Facebook.

The findings about Facebook are fairly consistent with another paper though, i.e. it has a weak impact on "real life" behavior.

There might be more research on which (other) kinds of online communities facilitate "real life" pro-social behavior, I'm not terribly familiar with this area.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for this excellent starting point, which will take some time (and research) for me to fully appreciate. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2017 at 13:57

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