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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 8 cognitive effort (Fiske, 1995; Gilbert, 1995). Social perceptions thus require an active cognitive effort by the individual. As mentioned before, self-awareness is “a perceptual process which involves focusing attention to one’s self-concept” (Kinney et al., 2001, p.249). According to this definition, self- awareness is thus a form of social perception, subject to the same effects of cognitive effort as interpersonal perceptions. Scholars (Joinson, 2001; Kinney et al., 2001; Pisonneault & Heppel, 1998) classify self-awareness into two forms: private self-awareness and public self-awareness. Private self-awareness relates to self-reflection, while public self-awareness involves perceptions of other’s impressions of one-self in social situations. Because tasks can vary in their degree of cognitive requirements, the nature of the task affects self-awareness. Given limited cognitive resources, when the individual is engaged in a task with high cognitive load there is little room for making social perceptions. In this zero-sum condition, most of the available resources are set in the engaging task, efforts to increase self- awareness are minimized, and the individual acts ‘as if ’ he or she is anonymous. ‘As if ’ implies that the individual is not evaluating whether he or she is anonymous or not. True feelings of anonymity imply an assessment of whether there is a “condition that frees individuals from social evaluation or scrutiny” (Pissoneault & Heppel, 1998, p. 95). In contrast, the lack of self-awareness suggested here implies a suspension on the assessment of the whether one is anonymous or not, due to high cognitive engagement in a task. In summary, prior literature seems to suggest certain relationship between cognitive load, self-awareness, and anonymity. Further, because no study has included all three concepts, the relationship between them is not yet clear. Thus I suggest the following broad research question: RQ 1: How do tasks, visual cues and self-awareness affect perceived anonymity?

Authors: Gomez, Luis.
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Visual Cues and Perceived Self-Anonymity
8
cognitive effort (Fiske, 1995; Gilbert, 1995). Social perceptions thus require an active cognitive
effort by the individual.
As mentioned before, self-awareness is “a perceptual process which involves focusing
attention to one’s self-concept” (Kinney et al., 2001, p.249). According to this definition, self-
awareness is thus a form of social perception, subject to the same effects of cognitive effort as
interpersonal perceptions. Scholars (Joinson, 2001; Kinney et al., 2001; Pisonneault & Heppel,
1998) classify self-awareness into two forms: private self-awareness and public self-awareness.
Private self-awareness relates to self-reflection, while public self-awareness involves perceptions
of other’s impressions of one-self in social situations.
Because tasks can vary in their degree of cognitive requirements, the nature of the task
affects self-awareness. Given limited cognitive resources, when the individual is engaged in a
task with high cognitive load there is little room for making social perceptions. In this zero-sum
condition, most of the available resources are set in the engaging task, efforts to increase self-
awareness are minimized, and the individual acts ‘as if ’ he or she is anonymous. ‘As if
implies that the individual is not evaluating whether he or she is anonymous or not. True
feelings of anonymity imply an assessment of whether there is a “condition that frees individuals
from social evaluation or scrutiny” (Pissoneault & Heppel, 1998, p. 95). In contrast, the lack of
self-awareness suggested here implies a suspension on the assessment of the whether one is
anonymous or not, due to high cognitive engagement in a task.
In summary, prior literature seems to suggest certain relationship between cognitive load,
self-awareness, and anonymity. Further, because no study has included all three concepts, the
relationship between them is not yet clear. Thus I suggest the following broad research question:
RQ 1: How do tasks, visual cues and self-awareness affect perceived anonymity?


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