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Bad habit or social good? How perceptions of gossiper morality are related to gossip content
Peters, K. & Kashima, Y.
European Journal of Social Psychology, 45 (6), 784-798.

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.

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Created: Tuesday, 3rd May 2016 by org-importer
Modified: Tuesday, 3rd May 2016 by org-importer
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