Under the Influence: How Social Media is Changing Group Formation

Davis, Joshua
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University of Guelph

Social media is an important part of human interaction and the formation of groups. Research suggests social media content may have an extreme bias. The current study investigated whether exposure to extreme social media content (student partying/drinking videos) changed participant’s group prototypes and group norms. A three time-point experiment was conducted that measured participant’s partying/drinking prototypes along with their perceived drinking norms of a typical student. At Time 2, participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, three video conditions and one control, with one video condition displaying extreme partying/drinking behaviour. A 4 (Condition) X 3 (Time) Mixed ANOVA revealed that within the Extreme condition, at Time 2 and 3 participants used more party words to describe the typical student and perceived an increase in student drinking norms. Additionally, at each Time a moderate to strong positive correlation between the group prototype and group norm was revealed.

group prototype, group norm, partying/drinking, social media, exemplars