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Effects of Representational Similarity on Deindividuation and Conformity to Group Norms in Computer-Mediated Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  11 numbers, from 1 to 3, had been randomly assigned to individual subjects. At this point, the different character condition saw three different characters on the computer screen whereas the same character condition saw everyone represented by the same characters (see Figure 1-1 and 1- 2 for the screen snapshots for each condition). In order to reduce suspicion about the purpose of the experiment, three filler scenarios in which two interactants argued for the opposite direction were included. Responses to these scenarios were not analyzed. INSERT FIGURE 1-1 AND 1-2 ABOUT HERE Participants then gave their recommendation, which was displayed by the character assigned to them. The response options were: Definitely should do A, Should do A, Probably should do A, Probably should do B, Should do B, Definitely should do B. The scale was treated as ranging from one to six, with maximum agreement as six and maximum disagreement as one. By displaying the participant’s decision along with the previously shown interactants’ decisions, we intended to contrast any discrepancy in opinion between the participant and the interactants, as well as to ensure that the participant’s decision was correctly recognized by the interactants. They then typed in an argument to support their decision. Once they finished typing, pre- programmed arguments, ostensibly written by the interactants, were delivered by the characters at various intervals. This pattern was repeated for seven different scenarios. When the interaction was over, the participants filled out a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Measures To control for the contaminating effects of people’s pre-dispositional risk-taking tendency, conformity scores were calculated as follows. First, to estimate individuals’ risk-taking tendency, the conformity scores on scenarios where the cautious choice was given as the unanimous group opinion were reversed, so that every response score indicated how risky the decision was regardless of the group norm. Second, all response scores were then z-transformed within each participant, indicating how riskier or more cautious each decision was, compared to his or her average risk-taking propensity as the baseline. Third, for the scenarios where the

Authors: Lee, Eun-Ju.
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numbers, from 1 to 3, had been randomly assigned to individual subjects. At this point, the
different character condition saw three different characters on the computer screen whereas the
same character condition saw everyone represented by the same characters (see Figure 1-1 and 1-
2 for the screen snapshots for each condition). In order to reduce suspicion about the purpose of
the experiment, three filler scenarios in which two interactants argued for the opposite direction
were included. Responses to these scenarios were not analyzed.
INSERT FIGURE 1-1 AND 1-2 ABOUT HERE
Participants then gave their recommendation, which was displayed by the character
assigned to them. The response options were: Definitely should do A, Should do A, Probably
should do A, Probably should do B, Should do B, Definitely should do B. The scale was treated
as ranging from one to six, with maximum agreement as six and maximum disagreement as one.
By displaying the participant’s decision along with the previously shown interactants’ decisions,
we intended to contrast any discrepancy in opinion between the participant and the interactants,
as well as to ensure that the participant’s decision was correctly recognized by the interactants.
They then typed in an argument to support their decision. Once they finished typing, pre-
programmed arguments, ostensibly written by the interactants, were delivered by the characters at
various intervals. This pattern was repeated for seven different scenarios. When the interaction
was over, the participants filled out a paper-and-pencil questionnaire.
Measures
To control for the contaminating effects of people’s pre-dispositional risk-taking
tendency, conformity scores were calculated as follows. First, to estimate individuals’ risk-taking
tendency, the conformity scores on scenarios where the cautious choice was given as the
unanimous group opinion were reversed, so that every response score indicated how risky the
decision was regardless of the group norm. Second, all response scores were then z-transformed
within each participant, indicating how riskier or more cautious each decision was, compared to
his or her average risk-taking propensity as the baseline. Third, for the scenarios where the


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