The effect of anonymity on conformity to group norms in online contexts : A meta-analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-415
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Communication
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes



This research meta-analyzed 13 journal articles regarding anonymity and conformity to group norms. Results showed that there was a positive relationship between anonymity and conformity, with a weighted mean effect size r= 0.16, which was in line with the social identity model of deindividuation effects. This study also investigated the differences between different types of anonymity and found that visual anonymity had a medium magnitude of effect size on conformity (r= 0.33), whereas evidence was lacking in terms of the significant effects of physical anonymity and personal information anonymity. In addition, the presence of an outgroup was also a moderator of the effect of anonymity on conformity. Studies in which participants were aware of the existence of an outgroup (r= 0.22) had larger effect sizes than those with no outgroup (r= 0.10).

Research Area(s)

  • Anonymity, Conformity, Depersonalization, Group identification, Meta-analysis

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