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Apr 16, 2017 10:18 AM EDT

Oregon State University Study: Social Media Creates Stigma and Stereotypes [Video]

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A study reveals how social media creates stigma and stereotypes among people with Alzheimer's disease.
(Photo : Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

With the help of a software to analyze comments and sentiments posted on the social media, a group of researchers have found that more than half of the tweets by private Twitter account users contained stigma. This is especially true when pertaining to Alzheimer's disease and the people who are suffering from this condition.

This new software was developed by the researchers from Oregon State University to analyze social media comments and to better understand the human behavior and tendencies that can cause stigma and reinforce stereotypes, Science Daily reported.

The newly developed software is said to be applicable to other questions related to science research, and according to the researchers, most people make the mistake of overlooking the power of social media to surpass the type of verbal or face-to-face communication that everybody has gotten used to. People do not think of the way that their posts or comments would actually make an impact to the readers.

Nels Oscar, an OSU graduate student in the College of Engineering and lead author of the study, said that as a society, it can be compared to learning a new skill of text communication, and not all people seem to understand on its ability and power to affect other people in many ways which many do not really intend.

He also added how social media can be a very powerful tool because it has the ability to reach millions in an instant. People do not know who can read it and who needs it, and how it will affect them.

Because of the study, attention was brought to how people made comments about Alzheimer's disease and the patients suffering the condition. The study has shown how social media can cause serious problems to these people and make the condition worse for them. Because of the stigma that social media creates, patients will be less likely to admit their condition or seek treatment.

OSU researchers suggest that people should be more conscious of their own comments on social media and avoid using languages or words that can potentially hurt or affect others in any negative way.

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