The Effect of “Anonymous Reviewer”: A Study of Anonymity, Affect Intensity, and Message Valence in the Cyberspace

Cheng Hong, Cong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study aims to illustrate how anonymity, together with affect intensity and message valence, affects message receivers’ responses. A 2 (anonymous vs. revealed identity) × 2 (low vs. high affect intensity) × 2 (positive vs. negative valence) between-subjects experiment was conducted. It was found that when message affect intensity was low, an anonymous message was more effective in generating trust toward the message and message processing depth than a message with an identified sender. However, such a difference was insignificant when affect intensity was high. Moreover, a significant interaction effect between affect intensity and message valence was found on message processing depth. When affect intensity was high, a positive message elicited more message processing. When affect intensity was low, there was no significant difference between positive and negative messages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-524
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017



  • affect intensity
  • anonymity
  • attribution theory
  • information processing theory
  • language expectancy theory
  • message valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this