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Effects of Representational Similarity on Deindividuation and Conformity to Group Norms in Computer-Mediated Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  22 correlated with interpersonal similarity, r = .57, p < .0001 for Participant 1 and r = .43, p < .001 for Participant 2, confirming that perceived interpersonal similarity is a basis for psychological group formation. What is noteworthy, however, is that interpersonal similarity with each partner did not enhance conformity to the group norm, as evidenced by virtually zero correlations, r = .08 and r = -.03 for Participants 1 and 2, respectively. INSERT FIGURE 3 ABOUT HERE As a direct test of the mediation of group identification, we further examined the causal links between deindividuation, group identification, and conformity, using a path analysis (see Figure 3). Initial regressions established that deindividuation significantly increased conformity ( β = .32, t = 2.45, p < .01), that deindividuation fostered group identification ( β = .26, t = 1.94, p < .03), and that identification and conformity were significantly related ( β = .30, t = 2.31, p < .02). When both deindividuation and group identification were entered as predictors of conformity, the effects of deindividuation ( β = .25, t = 1.95, p < .03) and those of identification remained significant ( β = .24, t = 1.79, p < .04). Yet, when identification was added in the equation as a predictor of conformity, after deindividuation had been entered, the increment in variance explained by the path model improved significantly, R 2 = .15, ∆ R 2 = .05, F change (1, 52) = 3.20, p < .04. Taken together, the results indicate that while group identification makes unique contribution to conformity beyond the effect of deindividuation, deindividuation also has a direct impact on conformity. Finally, deindividuation led people to overestimate the level of agreement among group members, r = .37, p < .002. Given the positive correlation between perceived consensus and conformity (r = .28, p < .02) and that between deindividuation and conformity (r = 32, p < .01), it was possible that people accurately inferred the degree of consensus from actual conformity, thereby causing spurious relationship with deindividuation. To rule out this possibility, partial correlation coefficient was obtained between deindividuation and perceived consensus,

Authors: Lee, Eun-Ju.
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correlated with interpersonal similarity, r = .57, p < .0001 for Participant 1 and r = .43, p < .001
for Participant 2, confirming that perceived interpersonal similarity is a basis for psychological
group formation. What is noteworthy, however, is that interpersonal similarity with each partner
did not enhance conformity to the group norm, as evidenced by virtually zero correlations, r = .08
and r = -.03 for Participants 1 and 2, respectively.
INSERT FIGURE 3 ABOUT HERE
As a direct test of the mediation of group identification, we further examined the causal
links between deindividuation, group identification, and conformity, using a path analysis (see
Figure 3). Initial regressions established that deindividuation significantly increased conformity
(
β
= .32, t = 2.45, p < .01), that deindividuation fostered group identification (
β
= .26, t = 1.94, p
< .03), and that identification and conformity were significantly related (
β
= .30, t = 2.31, p <
.02). When both deindividuation and group identification were entered as predictors of
conformity, the effects of deindividuation (
β
= .25, t = 1.95, p < .03) and those of identification
remained significant (
β
= .24, t = 1.79, p < .04). Yet, when identification was added in the
equation as a predictor of conformity, after deindividuation had been entered, the increment in
variance explained by the path model improved significantly, R
2
= .15,
R
2
= .05, F
change
(1, 52)
= 3.20, p < .04. Taken together, the results indicate that while group identification makes unique
contribution to conformity beyond the effect of deindividuation, deindividuation also has a direct
impact on conformity.
Finally, deindividuation led people to overestimate the level of agreement among group
members, r = .37, p < .002. Given the positive correlation between perceived consensus and
conformity (r = .28, p < .02) and that between deindividuation and conformity (r = 32, p < .01), it
was possible that people accurately inferred the degree of consensus from actual conformity,
thereby causing spurious relationship with deindividuation. To rule out this possibility, partial
correlation coefficient was obtained between deindividuation and perceived consensus,


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