The Effect of Anonymity on Conformity to Group Norms in Online Contexts: A Meta-Analysis

Guanxiong Huang, Kang Li


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  = 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 ( = 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 ( = 0.22) had larger effect sizes than those with no outgroup ( = 0.10).


deindividuation, group identification, anonymity, conformity, meta-analysis

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