Two Routes Leading to Conformity Intention in Computer-Mediated Groups: Matching Versus Mismatching Virtual Representations

  • Kim J
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Abstract

Given that using graphic self-representation (i.e., avatar) has become popular in diverse online services such as network games or virtual life communities (e.g., Second Life), it is important to investigate how visual self-representation can affect people’s behaviors or identities in cyberspace. Amongmany possible effects of visual cues in cyberspace, the current study focuses on the impact of sharing uniform appearance on virtual group identity. This study predicts that being represented by the same visual cue as others can increase group identity in a virtual group. Such identification with strangers is possible in virtual groups partially because virtual identities can be easily manipulated. Compared to offline settings where it is almost impossible to be disconnected from actual selves, it ismuch easier for people to be dis- connected from their physical appearances incyberspace.Andpeople do identifywith and attach to their virtual representations that do not necessarily reflect their actual appearances.

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