Absence of social cues leads to lose individuality

See: Computer-Mediated Communication, Social Presence Theory, Social Identity model of Deindividuation Effects.

Core Assumptions and Statements

Central assumption is that the absence of social cues in CMC is deindividuating. Deindividuation is a state in which people lose their individuality because “group members do not feel they stand out as individuals” and individuals act if they are “submerged in the group”. (Festinger, Pepitone & Newcomb 1952). The Social Cues Approach describes relatively little social power to computer-mediated communication. This is because cues that enable communicators to perceive one another as individuals are relatively absent in CMC. This diminishes the awareness of the self and the other. This leads to a deregulation of behavior.


  • 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.
  • Kiesler, S. (1986). Thinking ahead: The hidden messages in computer networks. Harvard Business Review, 46-59.
  • Sproull, L., & Kiesler, S. (1991). Connections: New ways of working in the networked organization. Cambrigde, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Festinger, L., Pepitone, A., & Newcomb, T. (1952). Some consequences of deinviduation in a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, 382-389.

See Communication and Information Technology