Over Time: How Do Norms And Emotions Work In The Online World? |

Over Time: How Do Norms And Emotions Work In The Online World?


The advent of the Internet has opened up a realm of possibilities: it has changed the way that we interact with one another, the way that business is done as well as the ways that governments communicate with their citizenry. However, it has also left many policy makers struggling to come to terms with this new medium. Increasingly, governments are seeing the need to regulate the Internet. But in order to do so, it is imperative to understand how life unfolds and is conducted online, and the rules and norms that operate in this new frontier.
This presentation takes a look at the power and strength of group norms and group identity, as well as the impact of emotion and affect in particular as it relates to decision-making. It empirically examines the concepts of choice shift, and group polarization in an online setting, as suggested in the literature, in particular whether normative influence is a factor in online opinion change. In doing so it also looks at the effects of affect and the content under discussion. Three main hypothesis are put forth with regard to (a) the effect of normative influence on individual and group decision-making; (b) the effect of consensus on individual decision-making and; (c) if the nature of the issue being decided had an effect on group and individual decision-making. Using hierarchical linear mixed models, findings from this study indicate that the nature of the content being discussed affected decision-making and opinion change, with there being a significant difference between intellectual issues as opposed to risk and moral issues. This research also suggests that group polarization may occur differently in naturalistic computer-mediated group settings, contrary to what has been shown previously in the literature. It suggests that previous studies have overlooked the temporal factor in the deindividuation process.

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Tracy Loh, Research Fellow, Information + Innovation Policy Research Centre, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Tuesday, 10 March 2009
12.10 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 2-3
Level 2, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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