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Effects of Representational Similarity on Deindividuation and Conformity to Group Norms in Computer-Mediated Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  15 Another way to decompose the interaction was to compare the same-character and different-character conditions in terms of the intra-group vs. inter-group difference. The results showed that the difference between the same-university and different-university conditions was significant only in the same-character condition, t(56) = 3.20, p < .001, not in the different- character condition, t(56) = 1.48, p > .10. In other words, it is the uniform representation that triggers different reactions from individuals according to the salient identity, either to form a group identity based on the commonality of visual cues or to assert their singularity by expressing disagreement with others. When each person was represented by a unique character, however, people did not respond differently regardless of the salient identity level. Not surprisingly, the overall conformity level varied depending on the content of particular scenarios (or the pre- programmed group norm associated with each scenario), F(3,168) = 20.19, p < .0001, η 2 = .27, but no significant interaction was found between scenarios and other factors, all p’s > .15. Finally, for a more direct test of the association between deinidividuation and conformity, bivariate correlation coefficients were calculated. Overall, people were more likely to conform to the group norm when they do not individuate their partners, r = .36, p = .005. This finding, however, is confined to the inter-group condition: Deindividuation increased conformity only in the inter-group condition where the group identity was rendered salient, r = .51, p = .004. The corresponding correlation was not statistically significant in the interpersonal condition, where the personal dimension of the self was salient, r = .23, p = .21. Discussion Experiment 1 aimed to investigate the effect of visual representation on conformity to group norms in CMC, especially its interaction with the level of identity salient in a given context. Overall findings are in line with the SIDE model such that deindividuation, induced by means of uniform representation of CMC partners, led to greater conformity to the group norm when the awareness of group identity was heightened in an inter-group encounter.

Authors: Lee, Eun-Ju.
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15
Another way to decompose the interaction was to compare the same-character and
different-character conditions in terms of the intra-group vs. inter-group difference. The results
showed that the difference between the same-university and different-university conditions was
significant only in the same-character condition, t(56) = 3.20, p < .001, not in the different-
character condition, t(56) = 1.48, p > .10. In other words, it is the uniform representation that
triggers different reactions from individuals according to the salient identity, either to form a
group identity based on the commonality of visual cues or to assert their singularity by expressing
disagreement with others. When each person was represented by a unique character, however,
people did not respond differently regardless of the salient identity level. Not surprisingly, the
overall conformity level varied depending on the content of particular scenarios (or the pre-
programmed group norm associated with each scenario), F(3,168) = 20.19, p < .0001,
η
2
= .27,
but no significant interaction was found between scenarios and other factors, all p’s > .15.
Finally, for a more direct test of the association between deinidividuation and conformity,
bivariate correlation coefficients were calculated. Overall, people were more likely to conform to
the group norm when they do not individuate their partners, r = .36, p = .005. This finding,
however, is confined to the inter-group condition: Deindividuation increased conformity only in
the inter-group condition where the group identity was rendered salient, r = .51, p = .004. The
corresponding correlation was not statistically significant in the interpersonal condition, where
the personal dimension of the self was salient, r = .23, p = .21.
Discussion
Experiment 1 aimed to investigate the effect of visual representation on conformity to
group norms in CMC, especially its interaction with the level of identity salient in a given
context. Overall findings are in line with the SIDE model such that deindividuation, induced by
means of uniform representation of CMC partners, led to greater conformity to the group norm
when the awareness of group identity was heightened in an inter-group encounter.


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