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Bonding Through Gossip? The Effect of Gossip on Levels of Cooperation in Social Dilemma Games

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Abstract:

Is it true that a little negative gossip about a mutually known third party can help cement an early-stage friendship? The idea that gossip is a social bonding system has been dominating the research on gossip for a couple decades. Researchers within various domains of the social sciences believe that gossip unites people, and illustrated this idea with ethnographic data, but so far few of them have given substantial proof to this claim. Using levels of cooperation in a social dilemma game as a proxy to measure social bonding between two people, this study shows that gossip might not be the social cement of our society. Using the prisoner’s dilemma game, and 2 professional actresses as confederates, we compared the strategies used by female students who simply met with the confederate, to respondents who met and communicated with the confederate who either shared a gossip story or a self-disclosed story. From the theory that gossip acts as a social bonding system, we predicted higher levels of cooperation from the respondents who engaged in the gossip conversation with the confederate, but our results show a significant drop down in the levels of cooperation for this condition, compared to the condition of no talk or self-disclosed talk, who are not different from each other.

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9 (255), 2 (121), 1 (111), 3 (107), 6 (106), 0 (85), 8 (82), c (81), 5 (65), 4 (59), e (46), k (44), b (39), -1 (35), r (24), l (24), d (24), q (23), .. (13), 44 (12), g (10),

Author's Keywords:

gossip, social bonding, communication and cooperation
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Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p170097_index.html
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MLA Citation:

De Backer, Charlotte., Larson, Christina. and Cosmides, Leda. "Bonding Through Gossip? The Effect of Gossip on Levels of Cooperation in Social Dilemma Games" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA, May 23, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p170097_index.html>

APA Citation:

De Backer, C. J., Larson, C. and Cosmides, L. , 2007-05-23 "Bonding Through Gossip? The Effect of Gossip on Levels of Cooperation in Social Dilemma Games" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p170097_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Is it true that a little negative gossip about a mutually known third party can help cement an early-stage friendship? The idea that gossip is a social bonding system has been dominating the research on gossip for a couple decades. Researchers within various domains of the social sciences believe that gossip unites people, and illustrated this idea with ethnographic data, but so far few of them have given substantial proof to this claim. Using levels of cooperation in a social dilemma game as a proxy to measure social bonding between two people, this study shows that gossip might not be the social cement of our society. Using the prisoner’s dilemma game, and 2 professional actresses as confederates, we compared the strategies used by female students who simply met with the confederate, to respondents who met and communicated with the confederate who either shared a gossip story or a self-disclosed story. From the theory that gossip acts as a social bonding system, we predicted higher levels of cooperation from the respondents who engaged in the gossip conversation with the confederate, but our results show a significant drop down in the levels of cooperation for this condition, compared to the condition of no talk or self-disclosed talk, who are not different from each other.

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