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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 6 consistent with Kahai et al’s (1998) definition of source anonymity. According to Scott (1999), discursive anonymity might be more important than visual anonymity because it might free individuals from social evaluation and focus the group’s attention to ideas rather than participant’s status (p. 464). If prior knowledge reduces the effects of visual cues on perceived anonymity, the use of CMC to reduce visual cues would lose its practical relevance in ongoing organizational contexts. Because perceived anonymity due to physical separation might not be maintainable, it is important to determine whether visual anonymity has an effect beyond discursive anonymity. This paper tests whether visual cues have an effect on perceived anonymity beyond whether the individual perceives himself to have discursive anonymity. In other words, the test is on whether visual cues have an effect on perceived anonymity that go beyond the effects of discursive anonymity. Visual anonymity might have the same effects as discursive anonymity. Nevertheless, Scott’s (1999) emphasis on discursive anonymity might be due to the practical differences between fostering discursive anonymity and fostering visual anonymity. Both forms of anonymity might have similar effects, but discursive anonymity might be easier to achieve. Physically separating group members solely for the purpose of maintaining anonymity might not be feasible. Groups are separated for other reasons or constraints, such as the possibility that individuals cannot attend a meeting and have to join through electronic media. The costs of physically separating a group solely for visual anonymity purposes are likely to exceed any potential benefits. Thus, we need to question the practical relevance of visual anonymity. In contrast, if anonymity is an issue, discursive anonymity is easier to achieve. A technology such as GDSS by itself can help maintain discursive anonymity even when group

Authors: Gomez, Luis.
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Visual Cues and Perceived Self-Anonymity
6
consistent with Kahai et al’s (1998) definition of source anonymity. According to Scott (1999),
discursive anonymity might be more important than visual anonymity because it might free
individuals from social evaluation and focus the group’s attention to ideas rather than
participant’s status (p. 464).
If prior knowledge reduces the effects of visual cues on perceived anonymity, the use of
CMC to reduce visual cues would lose its practical relevance in ongoing organizational contexts.
Because perceived anonymity due to physical separation might not be maintainable, it is
important to determine whether visual anonymity has an effect beyond discursive anonymity.
This paper tests whether visual cues have an effect on perceived anonymity beyond whether the
individual perceives himself to have discursive anonymity. In other words, the test is on whether
visual cues have an effect on perceived anonymity that go beyond the effects of discursive
anonymity. Visual anonymity might have the same effects as discursive anonymity.
Nevertheless, Scott’s (1999) emphasis on discursive anonymity might be due to the
practical differences between fostering discursive anonymity and fostering visual anonymity.
Both forms of anonymity might have similar effects, but discursive anonymity might be easier to
achieve. Physically separating group members solely for the purpose of maintaining anonymity
might not be feasible. Groups are separated for other reasons or constraints, such as the
possibility that individuals cannot attend a meeting and have to join through electronic media.
The costs of physically separating a group solely for visual anonymity purposes are likely to
exceed any potential benefits. Thus, we need to question the practical relevance of visual
anonymity.
In contrast, if anonymity is an issue, discursive anonymity is easier to achieve. A
technology such as GDSS by itself can help maintain discursive anonymity even when group


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