Self-perception theory posits that individuals form attitudes and beliefs about themselves by observing their own behavior and drawing inferences from their actions. According to this theory, people do not always have pre-existing attitudes or emotions, but instead, they rely on their behaviors to understand and interpret their internal states. When individuals are uncertain about their attitudes or preferences, they make inferences based on their own behavior, similar to how they would assess others. For example, if someone repeatedly volunteers for charitable activities, they may infer that they have a genuine concern for helping others.
In an online community, self-perception theory can influence how individuals shape their identities and attitudes within the community. As individuals engage in online interactions, contribute content, or participate in discussions, they may observe their own behaviors and draw inferences about their interests, values, and affiliations. Online community platforms can provide a space for self-reflection and self-presentation, allowing individuals to develop and reinforce their identities based on their behaviors and contributions. Additionally, the feedback and reactions received from other community members can further influence individuals' self-perceptions and attitudes within the online community.