Can a GSS stimulate group polarization? An empirical study

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)22_Publication in policy or professional journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-237
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


This study investigates the impact of the electronic communication and anonymity capabilities of a group support system (GSS) on group polarization. Three support levels were studied: verbal support, identified GSS support, and anonymous GSS support. Information exposure was varied at two levels: exposure to positions without arguments and exposure to positions with arguments. The dependent variables were preference change and choice shift. Anonymous GSS groups produced higher choice shift than verbal groups. Anonymous GSS groups who were exposed to positions with arguments also had higher preference change than groups in other treatments. These results indicate that the anonymity and electronic communication capabilities of a GSS can be used conjointly to stimulate group polarization, especially when groups exchange mutual positions and arguments.