To Identify or Not to Identify? That…Depends on the Context: Testing a Model of Receiver Responses to Anonymous Communication

Stephen A. Rains, Craig R. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is not difficult to find a number of situations that involve opportunities for anonymous communication, especially in various forms of online interaction. The research reported here tests key propositions from the receiver response model (RRM) of anonymous communication. We conducted an experiment manipulating the context of a message from an anonymous source and examining its effects on perceived source anonymity, perceived ability and desire to identify the source, and intentions to identify the source. Participants expressed less desire to identify an anonymous source and perceived less ability to identify the source in a mass communication context than an interpersonal context. Desire and ability were positively associated with intentions to identify the source. Perceived anonymity was not different between the two contexts, but was positively associated with desire and negatively associated with ability to identify the anonymous source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-91
Number of pages14
JournalCommunication Reports
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Anonymity
  • Anonymous Communication
  • Message Receivers
  • Online Communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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