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.

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