Research talk by Dr Tracy Loh

“The Effects of Normative Influence and Risk Content on Online Group Decision-Making”

Date and Time:
Monday, April 18th, 2011
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

CNM Playroom, AS6/03-38

This study looked into the effects of group identity and subject content on computer-mediated group and individual decision-making.  Drawing from traditional choice shift literature, it examines the concepts of choice shift and group polarization in an online setting.  It focused on online decision-making and examined whether normative influence is a factor in online opinion change.  In doing so it also looked at the effects of group identity as well as the effects of content on group and individual decision-making.  In particular, the purpose of this research was to examine (a) the effect of normative influence on individual and group decision-making; (b) the effect of consensus on individual decision-making and; (c) if the nature of the issue being decided had an effect on group and individual decision-making. Using multilevel mixed models, findings from this study indicate that the nature of the content being discussed affected decision-making and opinion change, with there being a significant difference between intellectual issues as opposed to risk and moral issues.

Tracy Loh was born in Singapore and educated in Singapore, England and the United States of America.  She received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Sociology from the National University of Singapore, a Master of Science in Sociology from the University of Bristol, England as well a Master of Communication Studies from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.  She has recently completed her Doctor of Philosophy from Cornell University, USA.  Her research interests lie in breaching the boundaries between psychology, sociology and communication.  In particular, she is interested in the social implications of new media especially in relation to group and individual decision-making as well as health and risk communication.

Before entering academia, Tracy has also spent many years working in the fields of advertising, public relations and marketing communications.  Her expertise lies mainly in the hospitality and food and beverage industries as well as in the music industry.

Research talk by Ms Carol Soon

“No action, talk only?”: web 2.0 technologies and activating change.

Date and Time:

Wednesday, 27 April 2011
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.


CNM Playroom, AS6/03-38

Even as web 2.0 technologies have become normalized into political, commercial and social life, there remains a hazy understanding of what users of these technologies represent and their permanence in the communicative landscape. Early dismissals of bloggers as “just a bunch of guys in pajamas” (Reynolds, 2006) have lingered in the public mind, even as corporations, political campaigners and organisations design media campaigns around blogging. Carol’s study focuses on bloggers as individuals who leverage on different technologies to engender political and social change. Through in-depth interviews supported by a survey, her study uncovers the nuanced dynamics that shape technology use and activism participation. Building on a recent study by Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010), Carol’s study identifies a repertoire of collective actions facilitated by new media technologies, with applications beyond the political to the corporate sphere.

Currently an instructor in Communications and New Media, Carol’s research interests include how individuals and organisations leverage on web 2.0 technologies for change, as well as the galvanising roles of social networks and collective identity. Having published in several peer-reviewed journals and two book projects, Carol was also a recipient of the Association of Internet Researchers’ inaugural fee waiver award in 2009. Her latest work is a special issue in the Social Science and Computer Review, the fruition of a six-country project which involved researchers pursuing innovative approaches in network crawling and analysis. Upon graduation with honours in communication studies, Carol’s agency and corporate work included conceptualising and executing marketing and communication campaigns for profit and non-profit organisations. Prior to her doctoral studies, Carol was a freelance brand consultant with Activiste Brands.

Research talk by Dr. Ganga Sasidharan Dhanesh

“Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations: The View from Corner Offices in India”

Date and Time:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011; 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.


CNM Playroom, AS6/03-38

Globalization has highlighted the ethnocentricity that characterizes theorizing in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and public relations produced mostly within Euro/American traditions of scholarship. Dr. Ganga Dhanesh’s doctoral dissertation on CSR and public relations aims to offer a richly textured, contextual, inside-out understanding of CSR from the perspective of an emerging Asian nation, specifically India. In this talk, drawn from her doctoral research, Dr. Dhanesh will present and discuss original material and insights on CSR and the intersections between CSR and public relations, generated through in-depth elite interviews with corporate leaders and executives in India who define thought leadership in the space.


Ganga Sasidharan Dhanesh is Instructor in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore from where she completed her Ph.D. in 2011. A graduate in business administration, she has had experience in corporate and non-profit sectors. Her doctoral research proposal had won a student grant from the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. She has presented her research work at international public relations conferences and has publications in the areas of corporate social responsibility and relationship management, her current areas of interest.

CNM’s Muhammad Farkhan bin Salleh wins NUS Student Achievement Award

Fourth-year CNM major Muhammad Farkhan bin Salleh did CNM proud by clinching
one of the 11 individual awards at the NUS Student Achievement Awards (SAA)

This award is conferred to students who have made exceptional contribution
to the University beyond academic performance. Farkhan won in the Individual
Competitions category for his leadership in the Living Avatar’s Network
prototype that won second place in the student section of the prestigious
human-computer interaction conference, CHI 2010. Farkhan and his fellow CNM
groupmates were the only undergraduates to enter the finals of the CHI

The idea for the project was inspired by Farkhan’s experience while in
National Service five years ago when he met a former British World War II
veteran who revisited Nee Soon Camp (where Farkhan was based) and shared
with the young soldiers how he would save money slowly from his plumbing
jobs to travel back to places he held in his memory from World War II. This
got Farkhan thinking about using avatars to allow users an opportunity at
virtual travel.

CNM Assistant Professor Denisa Kera who helped supervised the project,
nominated Farkhan for the SAA, which were presented by NUS President
Professor Tan Chorh Chuan.