What is Manufactured Consent? Edit

Manufactured consent serves as a catalyst to the privacy paradox in that it convinces users to relinquish the same personal information they claim to hold sacred for a good or service that outweighs the value of their privacy.  Humans regularly give away their access to their search history, banking transactions, media consumption, and self-disclosures for the connection and convenience promised by various companies.

How is consent obtained? Edit

Many emerging business practices utilize these sentiments to manufacture consent in their user demographic by offering a good or service that is incredibly enticing to the consumer. These offers can vary from a discount at a store to an automated service that recommends media to the user based on their activity without commercial interruption. 

  • Services: Amazon, Spotify, Netflix
    • Tangible Benefits - automation | convenience
  • Social Status: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
    • Intangible Benefits - connectivity | self-percption

While the tangible benefits of a rewards card or the convenience of allowing amazon to track your purchase history to return relevant deals makes sense, more research is needed to determine the intangible benefits of rapid self-disclosure. Researchers are very intrigued by the belief that some users seek to improve their own perception of self by themselves via disclosure.   The Proteus Effect summarizes his phenomenon.

What is the Proteus Effect? Edit

The Proteus Effect is an abstraction of the self-perception theory, which asserts that we formulate our own attitudes concerning ourselves loosely on our perceptions of how others view us. [1] However, the Proteus Effect proposes that an individual’s behavior conforms to their digital self-representation independent of how others perceive them— a process we term the Proteus Effect. [2]

To test this theory, one experiment placed participants in an immersive virtual environment and was given either shorter or taller avatars. [3] The participants that were given taller avatars negotiated more aggressively than users given shorter avatars. Results indicated that both the height and attractiveness of an avatar in an online game were significant predictors of the player’s performance. In a second study, researchers found that the behavioral changes stemming from the virtual environment also transferred to subsequent face-to-face interactions.

  1. Yee, N., & Bailenson, J. N. (2009). The difference between being and seeing: The relative contribution of self-perception and priming to behavioral changes via digital self-representation. Media Psychology, 12(2), 195-209.    
  2. Yee, N., & Bailenson, J. (2007). The Proteus effect: The effect of transformed self‐representation on behavior. Human communication research, 33(3), 271-290.
  3. Yee, N., Bailenson, J. N., & Ducheneaut, N. (2009). The Proteus effect: Implications of transformed digital self-representation on online and offline behavior. Communication Research.