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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 7 participants are co-present. It is then critical to consider whether the effects of not knowing the source (discursive anonymity) are similar to the effects of not knowing the source and not being physically visible to one another (visual anonymity). Thus, I suggest the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 1: The lack of visual cues (co-presence) will have a positive effect on perceived anonymity after controlling for the effects of discursive anonymity. Hypothesis one tests whether visual cues have an effect on anonymity that goes beyond message source identification. Kahai et al.’s (1998) definition of process (visual) anonymity requires that we also have source (discursive) anonymity. In this way, testing for visual anonymity without controlling for source anonymity might confound results. Further, I suggest that visual anonymity has lower practical relevance than discursive anonymity. Thus, it is critical to determine its individual contribution to how the individual perceives himself or herself to be anonymous. Visual cues and message identifiably seem to be directly related to perceived anonymity. Scholars (e.g. Joinson, 2001) have also suggested a relationship between self-awareness and perceived anonymity that might be distinct from visual cues. Further, visual cues have been considered as related to self-awareness. The argument in the next section is that self-awareness and visual cues have different effects on anonymity. Self-Awareness and Anonymity. Research on social perception suggests that cognitive effort determines the accuracy of interpersonal perception. The greater the need for interpersonal perception accuracy the greater the effort the individual exerts (Gilbert, 1995). When the need for accuracy is low, the individual resorts to categorization based on salient individual characteristics in order to reduce

Authors: Gomez, Luis.
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Visual Cues and Perceived Self-Anonymity
7
participants are co-present. It is then critical to consider whether the effects of not knowing the
source (discursive anonymity) are similar to the effects of not knowing the source and not being
physically visible to one another (visual anonymity). Thus, I suggest the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 1: The lack of visual cues (co-presence) will have a positive effect on perceived
anonymity after controlling for the effects of discursive anonymity.
Hypothesis one tests whether visual cues have an effect on anonymity that goes beyond
message source identification. Kahai et al.’s (1998) definition of process (visual) anonymity
requires that we also have source (discursive) anonymity. In this way, testing for visual
anonymity without controlling for source anonymity might confound results. Further, I suggest
that visual anonymity has lower practical relevance than discursive anonymity. Thus, it is
critical to determine its individual contribution to how the individual perceives himself or herself
to be anonymous.
Visual cues and message identifiably seem to be directly related to perceived anonymity.
Scholars (e.g. Joinson, 2001) have also suggested a relationship between self-awareness and
perceived anonymity that might be distinct from visual cues. Further, visual cues have been
considered as related to self-awareness. The argument in the next section is that self-awareness
and visual cues have different effects on anonymity.
Self-Awareness and Anonymity.
Research on social perception suggests that cognitive effort determines the accuracy of
interpersonal perception. The greater the need for interpersonal perception accuracy the greater
the effort the individual exerts (Gilbert, 1995). When the need for accuracy is low, the
individual resorts to categorization based on salient individual characteristics in order to reduce


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