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 stereotype‐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.
British Journal of Social Psychology – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2001
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