Cyberbullying: the viewpoint of social neuroscience

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 (Image: Pixabay CC0)
(Image: Pixabay CC0)

Responsible digitalisation is one of the key themes chosen by USI for 2022, which we explore in depth thanks also to Dr Rosalba Morese ’s neuroscientific studies on cyberbullying and isolation. Cyberbullying is a very complex phenomenon, which, due to the widespread use of social media, can have major repercussions on mental health.

Thanks to Dr Rosalba Moresi’s studies, it has been possible to confirm an established understanding for those working in the field of social neuroscience: when we feel excluded, also due to cyberbullying, the brain circuits linked to physical pain are activated. On the other hand, social support is an aid that has been scientifically proven in empirical experiments.

Dr Morese elaborated on these issues in a recent interview with the portal Ticinoscienza: "Although scientific research has identified cyberbullying as a risk factor for adolescents’ mental health (from isolation to depression to suicide, in extreme cases), little is known about the possible neurophysiological mechanisms involved. The interdisciplinary approach between the new branch of social neuroscience (which allows us to understand what happens in our brains in relation to different social behaviours) and psychology can help us to understand what factors and processes are involved in online abuse and provocation, both as a victim and as an aggressor’.

Such research at the intersection of different disciplines may therefore open up new fronts for better protecting adolescents and identifying prevention and intervention strategies.


Cyberbullying: more research to understand what goes on in the brains of victims and aggressors (Ticinoscienza, 25.4.2022 - Italian / German language only)

Cyberbullying and Mental Health: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (Frontiers in Psychology, 12.1.2022)