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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 76-77

Getting glued to TikTok® – Undermining the psychology behind widespread inclination toward dub-mashed videos

1 Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Paediatrics, Rajah Muthiah Medical College and Hospital, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AMH.AMH_7_19

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How to cite this article:
Kumar V D, Prabha M S. Getting glued to TikTok® – Undermining the psychology behind widespread inclination toward dub-mashed videos. Arch Ment Health 2019;20:76-7

How to cite this URL:
Kumar V D, Prabha M S. Getting glued to TikTok® – Undermining the psychology behind widespread inclination toward dub-mashed videos. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Mar 31];20:76-7. Available from: https://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2019/20/2/76/275210


In the existing wave of social media revolution, we could witness that adolescents belonging to millennial generation have seamless opportunities to express themselves and connect with peers in meaningful ways. By setting up their profile, digital natives create their own “virtual identity” which might be different from their true ones, and by virtue of this malleable identities, the reality or fantasy boundary can often be blurred easily.[1] From psychological perspective, social media applications serve as ideal social arenas for individuals who are attracted to engaging in ego-enhancing activities.[2] The recent addition to the armamentarium of networking sites which feed the narcissist hunger of the vulnerable population is “TikTok®” (previously well known as “Musical.ly”) where individuals can enact the available audio clips and hoist in their accounts.

How it became utmost popular? The previous virtual environments offered chances of self-depiction in a static way. Even the most liked Instagram® is based on the idea of massifying individuals who wish to freeze and document a fluctuating but significant slice of life. We could often see young people who wish to imitate celebrity lifestyle and portray the exaggerated version of true personalities, at least in the selfies, thereby supporting the extended real-life hypothesis.[3] Surpassing the above-said success principle, TikTok® makes them enact a celebrity for a few minutes and this creates an illusionary complex process whereby an anonymous person is converted into a celebrity. In due course, the self-identity of that particular individual in the confined virtual environment becomes the collection of celebrated virtual moments. Furthermore, the wide reach of the videos via social media platforms gives them instant gratification because of the boosting up of “self-identity.” For example, compared to a person who writes columns or blogs, an individual posting dub-mashed videos tend to garner attention of the viewers on random basis. Over a period of time, random conglomeration of binge-watchers could take place and confer “illusionary stardom” to the performers. This advantage, i.e., capturing the enacted performance of an individual for an audio clip, gave TikTok® an edge over other social networking sites.

Applying the core concept of self-comparison orientation theory,[4] which states that, “the inclination to compare one's accomplishments, one's situation, and one's experiences with those of others,” we could find that by creating the dubbed videos, individuals tend to imitate those who are perceived to be similar to themselves and boost their self-esteem. Similar to the negative side of other social networking sites, with the increase in the virtual competition for getting more liked, some videos are made too glamorous and seductive with the intention of gaining more attention. Barry et al.[5] postulated that highly insecure persons are likely to post staged or sexualized photographs for the purpose of getting highly consumed and thereby constructing them as a desirable persona. Furthermore, psychological–neurobiological models[6] have shown that addiction to social networking sites involves an interaction of sensitized reward processing and cue-reactivity with diminished prefrontal inhibitory control. The alarming message we could realize is that an addicted adolescent for the desire of getting largely viewed would not refrain from posting sensitive videos. What had started as a platform for self-expression and escaping from the problems of real world can eventually become a focus for societal repercussions also.

To conclude, the role of psychologists and psychiatrists in today's world is becoming more complex than previous generations. Individuals in the ocean of social media present with a spectrum of problems ranging from resolution of fundamental psychological conflicts/crises to social network sites addiction. The definitions of “self” and “environment” are changed because the walls in between are converted into “mirrors.” In a funny note, even Narcissus fell in love with his/her own reflection only upon seeing himself/herself in inconsistent, elusive water. However, the present-age “screenagers” have much more platforms to visualize themselves in the way they want and also portray themselves to others in the same way. We hope that this letter would be an eye-opener for those willing to pursue researches in this field and sensitize the psychiatrists about the need for media education, in the present situation.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Turkle S. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon and Schuster; 1995. p. 28-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wang JL, Jackson LA, Zhang DJ, Su ZQ. The relationships among big five personality factors, self-esteem, narcissism, and sensation-seeking to Chinese university student's uses of Social Networking Sites (SNSs). Comput Hum Behav 2012;28:2313-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Back MD, Stopfer JM, Vazire S, Gaddis S, Schmukle SC, Egloff B, et al. Facebook profiles reflect actual personality, not self-idealization. Psychol Sci 2010;21:372-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Buunk AP, Gibbons FX. Social comparison orientation: A new perspective on those who do and those who don't compare with others. In: Guimond S, editor. Social Comparison and Social Psychology: Understanding Cognition, Intergroup Relations and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2006. p. 15-32.  Back to cited text no. 4
Barry CT, Doucette H, Loflin DC, Rivera-Hudson N, Herrington LL. “Let me take a selfie”: Associations between self-photography, narcissism, and self-esteem. Psychol Pop Media Cult 2017;6:48-60.  Back to cited text no. 5
Brand M, Young KS, Laier C, Wölfling K, Potenza MN. Integrating psychological and neurobiological considerations regarding the development and maintenance of specific internet-use disorders: An Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2016;71:252-66.  Back to cited text no. 6

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