Problem solving in social interactions on the Internet: Rumor as social cognition

Bordia, Prashant and DiFonzo, Nicholas (2004) Problem solving in social interactions on the Internet: Rumor as social cognition. Social Psychology Quarterly, 67 1: 33-49. doi:10.1177/019027250406700105

Author Bordia, Prashant
DiFonzo, Nicholas
Title Problem solving in social interactions on the Internet: Rumor as social cognition
Journal name Social Psychology Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0190-2725
Publication date 2004-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/019027250406700105
Volume 67
Issue 1
Start page 33
End page 49
Total pages 17
Editor S. Cahill
Place of publication Washington , D.C., U.S.A.
Publisher Sage for the American Sociological Association
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
380105 Social and Community Psychology
780108 Behavioural and cognitive sciences
Abstract Rumor discourse has been conceptualized as an attempt to reduce anxiety and uncertainty via a process of social sensemaking. Fourteen rumors transmitted on various Internet discussion groups were observed and content analyzed over the life of each rumor With this (previously unavailable) more ecologically robust methodology, the intertwined threads of sensemaking and the gaining of interpretive control are clearly evident in the tapestry of rumor discourse. We propose a categorization of statements (the Rumor Interaction Analysis System) and find differences between dread rumors and wish rumors in anxiety-related content categories. Cluster analysis of these statements reveals a typology of voices (communicative postures) exhibiting sensemaking activities of the rumor discussion group, such as hypothesizing, skeptical critique, directing of activities to gain information, and presentation of evidence. These findings enrich our understanding of the long-implicated sensemaking function of rumor by clarifying the elements of communication that operate in rumor's social context.
Keyword Psychology, Social
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 45 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 05:19:10 EST