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Title:Group polarization in virtual communities: The case of stock message boards
Author(s):Chen, Hsuanwei Michelle
Subject(s):Virtual communities
Social comparison theory
Persuasive arguments theory
Online social networking
Information systems
Social and community informatics
Online social networks--Sociological aspects
Social groups--Psychological aspects
Abstract:This study examines group polarization, the phenomenon that group members tend to become more extreme in their decisions after group discussions, in the setting of virtual communities, specifically on stock message boards. In this paper, I propose two factors – group size and discussion thread length – to introduce the group polarization theories, social comparison theory (SCT) and persuasive arguments theory (PAT), respectively, to virtual communities. I examined the effects that group size and thread length have on group polarization, which is measured by forum participants’ sentiments. The findings suggest that group size has a significant effect on group polarization. The result of thread length, however, is mixed: the effect of thread length depends on the degree of posting activity on the message board. The analysis and findings echo prior literature, in which SCT and PAT are claimed to serve as two key mechanisms that drive group polarization.
Issue Date:2013-02
Citation Info:Chen, H. M. (2013). Group polarization in virtual communities: The case of stock message boards. iConference 2013 Proceedings (pp. 185-195). doi:10.9776/13174
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:is peer reviewed
Rights Information:Copyright © 2013 is held by the authors.Copyright permissions, when appropriate, must be obtained directly from the authors.
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-01-28

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