Social Identity Model of Deindivuation Effects

behavior changes in groups

See: Computer-Mediated Communication, Social Presence Theory, Reduced Social Cues Approach.

Core Assumptions and Statements

This theory states that CMC is not per definition “socially impoverished”. The consequence of seeing the self and others in terms of social identity is important. Where people perceive themselves as a member of a group, in-group favoritism was demonstrated. Studies showed that mere knowledge of being in a group with others was sufficient to produce group-based behavior (Tajfel et al., 1970). Individuation is more likely when social cues are communicated through direct visual contact, close proximity and portrait pictures. When these cues are absent deindividuation occurs. The theory says that in this condition social identity may nevertheless develop. The emphasis is on social cues signals, that are also transmitted in CMC and that lend themselves. Social cues signals, which form differentiated impressions of a person as distinct from others in the same group.


Tanis, M. (2003). Cues to Identity in CMC. The impact on Person Perception and Subsequent Interaction Outcomes. Thesis University of Amsterdam. Enschede: Print Partners Ipskamp.

Tajfel, H. (1978). Differentiation between groups: Studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations. London: Academic Press.

Tajfel, H, Flament, C., Billig, M.G. & Bundy, R.F. (1971). Social categorisation and intergroup behaviour. European journal of social psychology, 1 (149-177).

See Communication and Information Technology