Bad habit or social good? how perceptions of gossiper morality are related to gossip content

Peters, Kim and Kashima, Yoshihisa (2015) Bad habit or social good? how perceptions of gossiper morality are related to gossip content. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45 6: 784-798. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2123


Author Peters, Kim
Kashima, Yoshihisa
Title Bad habit or social good? how perceptions of gossiper morality are related to gossip content
Journal name European Journal of Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1099-0992
0046-2772
Publication date 2015
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/ejsp.2123
Open Access Status
Volume 45
Issue 6
Start page 784
End page 798
Total pages 15
Place of publication West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley and Sons
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract From a folk perspective, gossipers (individuals who talk about the behaviours of others) are considered to be immoral individuals, doing harm to those they discuss. However, this folk perspective sits uneasily with recent claims that gossipers may actually do some good. In particular, it has been suggested that gossipers who share diagnostic information about the morality of social targets may help audiences to identify targets who are trustworthy and those who are not. In this way, gossipers may help audiences adaptively regulate their relationships. In this paper, we examined whether audience perceptions of gossiper morality are influenced by their perceptions that the content of gossip is able to help them regulate their relationships. Participants in two scenario studies and a realistic interaction study were presented with gossip items drawn from a pool of 24 unique behavioural descriptions and asked to rate their perceptions of the gossiper and the content of the gossip item. As predicted, participants perceived gossipers as more moral when gossipers shared the diagnostic morality gossip that participants perceived to serve relationship regulatory functions.
Keyword Competence
Cooperation
Gossip
Morality
Relationship regulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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