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Effects of Representational Similarity on Deindividuation and Conformity to Group Norms in Computer-Mediated Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  8 science students) at two different tables as opposed to interspersing them around a single table (Reicher, 1987). The findings confirmed that when a shared social identity was made salient, anonymous groups were more likely to show norm-based group behaviors compared to the groups where personal identity was emphasized. In the present study, the group membership of interaction partners was manipulated to investigate the interplay between deindividuation and the salience of group identity. More specifically, the inter-group context, which has been shown to enhance the salience of group identity (Tajfel, 1978; Tajfel & Turner, 1986), was created by telling the participants that they would interact with two students from other universities in an on-line discussion. To further heighten the sensitivity to university affiliation as a group-defining cue, the discussion partners were consistently referred to as University 1 and University 2. On the other hand, the interpersonal condition believed that they would have an on-line discussion with their schoolmates, who were simply addressed as Participant 1 and Participant 2. Considering that undergraduate participants, unless instructed otherwise, normally assume that other participants are their schoolmates who volunteered for course credit, the mention of discussion partners’ school affiliation was not expected to particularly highlight their shared group membership. Although intra-group participants were not expected to show strong in-group favoritism given the “interpersonal” frame of the setting, it was predicted that people would find disagreement with out-group interactants less disconcerting and thus less likely modify their opinions deviant from others’ (Abrams et al., 1990; Hogg & Turner, 1987). H4: Individuals interacting with different-university students will show less conformity to the group norm than will those interacting with their schoolmates. Unlike previous studies in which a group identity was externally designated (e.g., Group A vs. Group B), participants were not encouraged to perceive their discussants as “group members”, nor the on-line discussion as a “group activity.” Even in the inter-group condition, the participants were induced to perceive themselves and others as representatives of their schools

Authors: Lee, Eun-Ju.
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8
science students) at two different tables as opposed to interspersing them around a single table
(Reicher, 1987). The findings confirmed that when a shared social identity was made salient,
anonymous groups were more likely to show norm-based group behaviors compared to the
groups where personal identity was emphasized.
In the present study, the group membership of interaction partners was manipulated to
investigate the interplay between deindividuation and the salience of group identity. More
specifically, the inter-group context, which has been shown to enhance the salience of group
identity (Tajfel, 1978; Tajfel & Turner, 1986), was created by telling the participants that they
would interact with two students from other universities in an on-line discussion. To further
heighten the sensitivity to university affiliation as a group-defining cue, the discussion partners
were consistently referred to as University 1 and University 2. On the other hand, the
interpersonal condition believed that they would have an on-line discussion with their
schoolmates, who were simply addressed as Participant 1 and Participant 2. Considering that
undergraduate participants, unless instructed otherwise, normally assume that other participants
are their schoolmates who volunteered for course credit, the mention of discussion partners’
school affiliation was not expected to particularly highlight their shared group membership.
Although intra-group participants were not expected to show strong in-group favoritism given the
“interpersonal” frame of the setting, it was predicted that people would find disagreement with
out-group interactants less disconcerting and thus less likely modify their opinions deviant from
others’ (Abrams et al., 1990; Hogg & Turner, 1987).
H4: Individuals interacting with different-university students will show less conformity to
the group norm than will those interacting with their schoolmates.
Unlike previous studies in which a group identity was externally designated (e.g., Group
A vs. Group B), participants were not encouraged to perceive their discussants as “group
members”, nor the on-line discussion as a “group activity.” Even in the inter-group condition, the
participants were induced to perceive themselves and others as representatives of their schools


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