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Effects of Representational Similarity on Deindividuation and Conformity to Group Norms in Computer-Mediated Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  13 1999; Walther, 1997). Three items were modified from Cheney’s organizational identification scale (1983): I have a lot in common with other XXX students, I find it easy to identify with XXX, I find that my values and the values of other XXX students are very similar ( α = .82). As expected, those who (ostensibly) interacted with different-university students reported significantly greater identification with their schoolmates (M = 16.37, SD = 4.02) than the same- university counterparts (M = 14.40, SD = 4.64), t(58) = 1.75, p < .05, one-tailed. In addition, one- sample t-tests confirmed that the level of group identification reported by the inter-group condition was significantly higher than the scale mid-point (13.50), t(29) = 3.91, p = .001, whereas the interpersonal condition did not show such a difference, t(29) = 1.06, p = .30. Hypothesis Tests As hypothesized in H1, people were less likely to differentiate between their invisible partners when everyone was represented by the same character (M = 14.98, SD = 8.08), compared to when each person was assigned a unique character (M = 22.53, SD = 10.97), F(1,56) = 9.52, p = .003, η 2 = .15. Interestingly, however, a marginally significant interaction emerged between group membership and deindividuation such that the character manipulation was more effective when participants interacted with different-university students, F(1,56) = 3.60, p < .07, η 2 = .06. When the interaction was decomposed, those in the inter-group condition perceived their interactants as more distinctive from each other when diverse characters represented the participants (M = 25.47, SD = 9.75) than when a single character represented all (M = 13.27, SD = 6.80), t(28) = 3.98, p < .0001. No such difference was found in the intra-group condition, t(28) = .76, p = .45. H2 predicted that uniform visual representation would not only promote deindividuation but also foster perceived similarity, thereby serving as an implicit cue to a shared group identity. Since similarity ratings were made separately for Partners 1 and 2, a repeated measures ANOVA was used to test the effect of representation on perceived similarity between partners and the

Authors: Lee, Eun-Ju.
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1999; Walther, 1997). Three items were modified from Cheney’s organizational identification
scale (1983): I have a lot in common with other XXX students, I find it easy to identify with
XXX, I find that my values and the values of other XXX students are very similar (
α
= .82). As
expected, those who (ostensibly) interacted with different-university students reported
significantly greater identification with their schoolmates (M = 16.37, SD = 4.02) than the same-
university counterparts (M = 14.40, SD = 4.64), t(58) = 1.75, p < .05, one-tailed. In addition, one-
sample t-tests confirmed that the level of group identification reported by the inter-group
condition was significantly higher than the scale mid-point (13.50), t(29) = 3.91, p = .001,
whereas the interpersonal condition did not show such a difference, t(29) = 1.06, p = .30.
Hypothesis Tests
As hypothesized in H1, people were less likely to differentiate between their invisible
partners when everyone was represented by the same character (M = 14.98, SD = 8.08),
compared to when each person was assigned a unique character (M = 22.53, SD = 10.97), F(1,56)
= 9.52, p = .003,
η
2
= .15. Interestingly, however, a marginally significant interaction emerged
between group membership and deindividuation such that the character manipulation was more
effective when participants interacted with different-university students, F(1,56) = 3.60, p < .07,
η
2
= .06. When the interaction was decomposed, those in the inter-group condition perceived their
interactants as more distinctive from each other when diverse characters represented the
participants (M = 25.47, SD = 9.75) than when a single character represented all (M = 13.27, SD
= 6.80), t(28) = 3.98, p < .0001. No such difference was found in the intra-group condition, t(28)
= .76, p = .45.
H2 predicted that uniform visual representation would not only promote deindividuation
but also foster perceived similarity, thereby serving as an implicit cue to a shared group identity.
Since similarity ratings were made separately for Partners 1 and 2, a repeated measures ANOVA
was used to test the effect of representation on perceived similarity between partners and the


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