Douglas, Karen and McGarty, Craig
Identifiability and self-presentation: Computer-mediated communication and intergroup interaction.
British Journal of Social Psychology, 40
ISSN 0144-6665 .
(Full text available)
This research investigated the intergroup properties of hostile 'flaming' behaviour in computer-mediated communication and how flaming language is affected by Internet identifiability, or identifiability by name and e-mail address/geographical location as is common to Internet communication. According to the Social Identity Model of Deindividuation Effects (SIDE; e.g. Reicher, Spears: & Postmes, 1995) there may be strategic reasons for identifiable groups members to act in a more group-normative manner in the presence of an audience, to gain acceptance from the in-group, to avoid punishment from the out-group, or to assert their identity to the out-group. For these reasons, it was predicted that communicators would produce more stereo type-consistent (group-normative) descriptions of out-group members' behaviours when their descriptions were identifiable to an audience. In one archival and three experimental studies, it was found that identifiability to an in-group audience was associated with higher levels of stereotype-consistent language when communicators described anonymous out-group targets. These results extend SIDE and suggest the importance of an in-group audience for the expression of stereotypical views.
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