Two studies examined intergroup discussions via computer-mediated communication systems. It was hypothesized that depersonalization, in comparison with individuated interaction, would increase the tendency for intergroup differentiation in attitudes and stereotypes. In Study 1, 24 groups communicated internationally over the Internet in a longitudinal design. Interacting groups, based in 2 different countries, were individuated versus partially unidentifiable, and thus depersonalized. Results indicate that depersonalized groups diverge, or bipolarize, when compared with individuated groups. A follow-up study demonstrated that under depersonalized conditions, individual differences are less salient, whereas group memberships are more salient. In addition, stereotypes were more salient in depersonalized conditions. Results support predictions derived from the social identity model of deindividuation effects.
- SIDE-VIEW: A social identity account of computer-supported collaborative learning
- Panacea or panopticon? The hidden power in computer-mediated communication
- Breaching or building social barriers? SIDE effects of computer-mediated communication
- Visibility and anonymity effects on attraction and group cohesiveness
- Rationalist assumptions in cross-media comparisons of computer-mediated communication
About Martin Lea
I’m a Social Psychologist who’s interested in understanding how people communicate, relate and behave on the Internet, social networks, and the Web. I do independent research, write and publish, and have contributed to over 30 books on computer-mediated communication and Internet relationships. My latest project Adoption Social Media Info explores how social media networking is reshaping the lives of adoptive families. I also provide training and coaching for academics, authors, and practitioners to help them build great professional websites that showcase their projects, grow their business, and create lasting impact from their work.