BRONY STUDY (Research Project)

Fandom Comparison Results

Results of the Neighborhood versus Brony Fandom on ‘Sense of Community Dimensions’:


This write up is based on the survey results from 5300 Bronies who completed the ‘Sense of Community Dimensions Scale’ as part of one of the Bronystudy’s earlier surveys.  This scale was created by researchers (Obst, 2001) to assess five dimensions that form a person’s ‘sense of being part of a community’.  These dimensions include:  a sense of BELONGING to the group; having EMOTIONAL TIES to the group; having a CONSCIOUS IDENTIFICATION with the group; SHARING VALUES with the group; and being INFLUENCED by the group. These researchers used the scale to compare a group of Science Fiction fans on the importance of their geographic neighborhood (family and friends) versus their fan community (fandom).

1)      As reported in their article (Obst, 2001) significant differences existed between the neighborhood and fandom ‘sense of community’ scores for Science Fiction fans. The results indicates that the SF fans experienced a greater sense of community within the fandom as measured by all five measures. This can be interpreted to mean that this group of 350 science fiction fans felt a greater sense of community within the fandom then they did within their geographic community.

1)      A review of the results from our sample of 5300 Bronies indicates that on every ‘Sense of Community’ Dimension there was a highly significant difference between the Bronies with respect to their connections with their neighborhood of residence and their connections with the Brony fandom.  All of the dimensions were in the direction indicating that the Bronies felt a stronger sense of community within the fandom. The one exception was the dimension of Emotional Connections and Ties, where the Bronies felt more connected to their geographic community (family and friends).

2)      Bronies displayed a reversal of Emotional Ties scores, indicating stronger ties with their neighborhood (family and friends), and greater mean differences between neighborhood and fandom for the other scores, especially Conscious ID and Shared Values. This can be interpreted to mean that Bronies (as a group) experience closer connections to their family and friends than they do with other Bronies, however, they identify more with and share similar values with the Brony fandom that they do their with family and friends. Note: these results may represent another positive aspect of the fandom, as it indicate that as a whole Bronies are NOT dependent upon the fandom for emotional support (friendships with other fans may represent ‘frosting on the cake’ with respect to social support).

3)     As reported in our earlier results  we have found that not all fans are alike.  We continue to refine our Brony Typology (that includes five types of Bronies – see earlier results for a description of Brony Types). In order to test the hypothesis that different types of Bronies might view the fandom differently we compared the five types of Bronies on the Sense of Community scores. We found significant differences indicating that:

a)      Those Bronies who self identify as Social and Secret Types(approximately 60% of Bronies) are similar in that they report: stronger feelings of Belonging to the fandom; stronger Identification with the fandom; stronger Shared Values with the fandom and report being more strongly Influenced by the fandom.  However, only the Social Bronies reported feeling stronger Emotional Ties with their neighborhood, whereas the other types reported stronger emotional ties to the fandom.

b)      These differences can be seen as evidence that the SOCIAL (and to a lesser degree the SECRET) Bronies are members of the fandom because it fits who they are (identity and values) whereas the others (especially the HIDDEN Bronies) maybe members of the fandom because it give them a safe place (perhaps their only) where they can feel emotionally connected to other people.

c)       Two groups that stand out as displaying opposite patterns are the Social (30%) and the Hidden Bronies (5%).  We suspect that these two groups fall at the polar opposites ends of an Identity (fits who I am) to Safety (it feels/provides acceptance) continuum.

d)      In general, these results lend support to the validity of the Brony Typology!

Final Notes:

1)      We would once again like to thank all of the Bronies who have taken (and continue to take) part in our online research.  We could not do it without your dedication to the fandom and willingness to endure our sometimes long surveys!

2)      These results have been submitted for possible presentation at the American Psychological Association’s Annual meeting in Washington DC (the weekend AFTER BronyCon in Baltimore).  We will hopefully be making trips too both meetings!

3)      These results support the hypothesis that fandoms are NOT ALL LIKE with respect to what the fandom provides to the fans (functions the fandom meets).  We will soon be branching out to conduct investigation similar to what we have done with the Bronies using other fandoms (e.g., sports teams; TV series; movies) to further investigate this hypothesis.

4)     These results support the hypothesis that NOT ALL FANS within a fandom are alike, the fan community meets different needs for different fans. We will also be testing this hypothesis within other fandoms.

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