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Effects of visual cues on public self-awareness and perceived anonymity of self
Unformatted Document Text:  Visual Cues and Perceived Self-Anonymity 11 Co-presence implies visual cues about others in the group. In contrast, physical separation leads to a lack of visual cues. To ensure comparability both conditions used the same communication media. Individuals in both groups posted their group participations into a web-based discussion group through a bulletin board. Groups of six students were created at the moment the students signed up for the experiment. Students were met at a computer site and asked to discuss issues regarding blood donation and tainted blood. 2 They were told to do recommendations on how to handle the tainted blood issue as a group. In both conditions they were greeted by the experimenter and given three to five minutes to introduce to the group. Because all students came from the same class, I expected the students to have some prior knowledge about each other. The analysis controlled for how acquainted they were with other members of the group through an item in the survey. In the co-present condition the students were seated in front of computers right next to each other and instructed to continue the interaction only through a web based discussion group. They presented their conclusions through an e-mail to the experimenter. Their interaction lasted between thirty five and forty two minutes. After the interaction, each participant was handed out a paper survey measuring the dependent variables. In the physically separated condition students were given laptop computers and were physically separated and sent to different locations of a computer lab. This computer lab is set up as several rows with six individual cubicles. By arranging the participants in different rows, the experimenter ensured that participants could not see each other. As in the co-present condition, they were given forty minutes to reach a conclusion as a group. After the interaction, they also individually filled out the questionnaire assessing the dependent variables. Most groups finished 2 The web-based bulletin board restricted to group members. Because the subjects were business students, the issue of tainted blood was framed as a problem that group members had to address as if they were decision makers at the Red Cross.

Authors: Gomez, Luis.
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Visual Cues and Perceived Self-Anonymity
11
Co-presence implies visual cues about others in the group. In contrast, physical separation leads
to a lack of visual cues. To ensure comparability both conditions used the same communication
media. Individuals in both groups posted their group participations into a web-based discussion
group through a bulletin board.
Groups of six students were created at the moment the students signed up for the
experiment. Students were met at a computer site and asked to discuss issues regarding blood
donation and tainted blood.
2
They were told to do recommendations on how to handle the tainted
blood issue as a group. In both conditions they were greeted by the experimenter and given
three to five minutes to introduce to the group. Because all students came from the same class, I
expected the students to have some prior knowledge about each other. The analysis controlled
for how acquainted they were with other members of the group through an item in the survey.
In the co-present condition the students were seated in front of computers right next to each
other and instructed to continue the interaction only through a web based discussion group. They
presented their conclusions through an e-mail to the experimenter. Their interaction lasted
between thirty five and forty two minutes. After the interaction, each participant was handed out
a paper survey measuring the dependent variables.
In the physically separated condition students were given laptop computers and were
physically separated and sent to different locations of a computer lab. This computer lab is set up
as several rows with six individual cubicles. By arranging the participants in different rows, the
experimenter ensured that participants could not see each other. As in the co-present condition,
they were given forty minutes to reach a conclusion as a group. After the interaction, they also
individually filled out the questionnaire assessing the dependent variables. Most groups finished
2
The web-based bulletin board restricted to group members. Because the subjects were business students, the issue
of tainted blood was framed as a problem that group members had to address as if they were decision makers at the
Red Cross.


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