New Assignment – PSY 300
INSTRUCTIONS: Elaborate discussion forum by answering the following question(s) (400 words or more / Times New Roman, 10 / *double spaced not necessary for non-essay questions*)
Violence in the media and in video games is identified as a key factor influencing young, impressionable children to act out in a violent manner.
1. Do you think the media and video games should be held to blame for some of the recent school shootings?
2. How do you control it if it is a problem?
New Assignment – PSY 355
INSTRUCTIONS: Briefly summarize the video(s) including the major topic(s) and your opinion(s) regarding the information contained in the material (400 words or more / Times New Roman, 10 / *double spaced not necessary for non-essay questions*)
Video Link: https://youtu.be/Zihdr36WVi4
New Assignment – PSY 340
INSTRUCTIONS: Elaborate discussion forum by answering the following question(s) (3 Pages / Times New Roman, 10 / *double spaced not necessary for non-essay questions*)
NOTE: Please, use the following article for this assignment “Gossip and Ostracism Promote Cooperation in Groups
1. In your own words, briefly (~5-10 sentences) summarize the article you read on gossip, ostracism, and cooperation in groups. Be sure to include a description of the main purpose of the study and the major findings of the study.
2. Connect at least two topics/social psychological phenomenon from our course to the article you read on gossip, ostracism, and cooperation in groups.
3. Provide your opinion/evaluation of the article. Do you agree with the findings of the article (why/why not)?
4. What are some of the limitations of the article? Using your knowledge of social psychology, what recommendations for future research would you give to the authors?
Psychological Science 1 –9 © The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0956797613510184 pss.sagepub.com
The existence of cooperation poses a puzzle to the bio logical and social sciences because each person faces strong incentives to exploit the cooperative tendencies of others (Dawes, 1980; Komorita & Parks, 1996). What, then, can explain the existence of widespread coopera tion observed in human societies? Recent research on reputation systems has provided one potential explana tion: The knowledge that one’s behavior will be known by many others reduces an individual’s incentive to behave selfishly, thereby promoting cooperation (Hardy & van Vugt, 2006; Simpson & Willer, 2008; Willer, 2009). In addition, knowing which of one’s potential partners has a reputation for cooperation or defection helps sus tain cooperation in at least two ways. First, such informa tion assists individuals in determining whom to selectively interact with by allowing them to choose to pair with more cooperative partners (Barclay & Willer, 2007). Further, within relationships, such information can be used to guide how much trust individuals should invest in a given partner (Barclay, 2004). But although scholars
have identified reputation systems as valuable in foster ing cooperation (Milinski, Semmann, & Krambeck, 2002; Wedekind & Milinski, 2000), little research has explored how these systems emerge. When do individuals share information on the past behavior of others, and what effects does it have? Here, we examine how the spread of reputational information through gossip facilitates coop eration and limits defection in groups.
Although gossip is often considered trivial or anti social, many positive social functions of gossip have been proposed (Foster, 2004). One prominent theory views gossip as a policing mechanism that helps indi viduals track those who have exploited other group members, even when such exploitation was not directly observed (Dunbar, 2004). Consistent with this argument,
510184 PSSXXX10.1177/0956797613510184Feinberg et al.Gossip and Ostracism Promote Cooperation research-article2014
Corresponding Author: Matthew Feinberg, Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University, 306 Jordan Hall, Stanford, CA 94305 Email: email@example.com
Gossip and Ostracism Promote Cooperation in Groups
Matthew Feinberg1,2, Robb Willer3, and Michael Schultz4 1Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University; 2Graduate School of Business, Stanford University; 3Department of Sociology, Stanford University; and 4Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Abstract The widespread existence of cooperation is difficult to explain because individuals face strong incentives to exploit the cooperative tendencies of others. In the research reported here, we examined how the spread of reputational information through gossip promotes cooperation in mixedmotive settings. Results showed that individuals readily communicated reputational information about others, and recipients used this information to selectively interact with cooperative individuals and ostracize those who had behaved selfishly, which enabled group members to contribute to the public good with reduced threat of exploitation. Additionally, ostracized individuals responded to exclusion by subsequently cooperating at levels comparable to those who were not ostracized. These results suggest that the spread of reputational information through gossip can mitigate egoistic behavior by facilitating partner selection, thereby helping to solve the problem of cooperation even in noniterated interactions.
Keywords social dilemmas, cooperation, gossip, reputation, altruism, ostracism, partner choice, social behavior, social interaction, punishment
Received 2/14/13; Revision accepted 9/20/13
Psychological Science OnlineFirst, published on January 24, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0956797613510184
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2 Feinberg et al.
ethnographic evidence suggests that group members readily spread reputational information about and stig matize those who do not conform to normative levels of cooperation (Wilson, Wilczynski, Wells, & Weiser, 2000). In addition, experimental studies have investigated the link between gossip and cooperation, finding that gossip can facilitate indirect reciprocity (Sommerfeld, Krambeck, Semmann, & Milinski, 2007) and deter exploitative behav ior in groups (Beersma & van Kleef, 2011; Feinberg, Willer, Stellar, & Keltner, 2012; Piazza & Bering, 2008).
In the research reported here, we explored the possi bility that gossip promotes cooperation by facilitating partner selection. We hypothesize that gossip fosters and sustains high levels of cooperation when paired with a means for social exclusion. Specifically, if individuals are made aware of others’ past behavior through gossip, they will use this information as a guide for selectively inter acting with only those people known to be cooperative, ostracizing those known to be defectors. As a result, we expect such reputationalinformation sharing to promote cooperation in groups by allowing more cooperative individuals to exclude free riders and thus reap the ben efits of group efforts while avoiding exploitation.
Additionally, ostracism should serve as a powerful tool for mitigating free riding. Social exclusion is an effective means of social and economic punishment. Ostracized individuals cannot reap the benefits of group efforts (Ouwerkerk, Kerr, Gallucci, & van Lange, 2005; Spoor & Williams, 2007; Williams, 2007), which makes the threat of expulsion a strong disincentive to defection. Beyond its economic effects, research has shown that social exclusion activates neurological responses analogous to pain responses associated with physical injury (Eisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams, 2003; MacDonald & Leary, 2005). Thus, it is likely that people will find that the costs of ostra cism outweigh the potential benefits for selfish behavior, which will lead ostracized individuals to cooperate at higher levels in subsequent group settings. We therefore expect that gossip and ostracism will work especially well in tandem, because gossip facilitates diffusion of informa tion about formerly exploitative group members and ostra cism provides a means for partner selection.
To test these claims, we conducted a largescale group interaction study. In each round of the study, participants decided whether or not to make a costly contribution that would benefit their group before moving onto the next round, in which they interacted with an entirely dif ferent group. The study featured two treatment condi tions and one control condition. In both treatment conditions, prior to the beginning of a subsequent round, group members could relay reputational information about one of their current group members to that per son’s future interaction partners. Additionally, in one treatment condition, recipients of this reputational infor mation could use it as a means for partner selection by
excluding one of the prospective group members. We hypothesized that when participants could relate reputa tional information and recipients could act on the infor mation they received by ostracizing a suspect group member, groups would achieve significantly higher levels of cooperation.
Two hundred sixteen participants (82 male, 134 female; mean age = 20.4 years) took part in this study in return for a flat payment of $5 and the opportunity to earn an addi tional payment ranging from approximately $2 to $12.
The study involved nine separate groups of 24 partici pants each and was run in a behavioraleconomics labo ratory at a large public university. The experimenter seated all participants at separate computer stations and requested that they not verbally communicate with any one else at any time during the study. The experimenter then informed participants that the study would be con ducted using the computer and directed them to follow the directions presented on the computer in front of them.
After completing a basic demographic questionnaire, participants learned how to play a publicgoods exercise (Fehr & Gachter, 2002). The exercise involved groups of 4 participants each. Each participant received an allot ment of 10 points at the beginning of each round of the exercise. Each point was worth 2.5¢. All 4 participants then determined how many of their 10 points they wished to contribute to a group fund and how many they wished to keep for themselves. Whatever number of points all 4 participants contributed to the group fund as a whole was then doubled and redistributed equally to each group member. Researchers commonly use this public goods exercise to examine social dilemmas because indi vidual participants will benefit the most by selfishly free riding off of everyone else’s contributions while contrib uting nothing themselves (Fehr & Gachter, 2002; Weber, Kopelman, & Messick, 2004).
After learning how to play in the publicgoods exercise, all participants completed a fivequestion comprehension check. The computer displayed a mes sage informing participants which questions they had missed (if any) and represented each of these ques tions until they selected the correct answer. Once par ticipants had successfully completed the comprehension check, they were provided with a practice round of the publicgoods exercise to familiarize them with the com puter interface.
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Gossip and Ostracism Promote Cooperation 3
The experiment employed a repeated measures design in which all participants played three distinct games: a basic game, a gossip game, and a gossipwithostracism game. Instructions informed participants that all 24 par ticipants would take part in one of the three games at the same time, with all three games being played simultane ously by different groups of participants. The order of the games was randomized across the nine unique experi mental sessions, and analyses showed that none of our findings resulted from game order (for more information, see Order Effects in the Supplemental Material available online). All participants played six successive rounds of each of the publicgoods games in groups of 4 (see Fig. 1).
During each game, participants were identifiable to one another only on the basis of an assigned code letter (e.g., Participant A, Participant B). Different codes were assigned at the beginning of each of the three games so that participants’ reputations could not carry over from one game to the next.
Following past research (Fehr & Gachter, 2002), we employed a roundrobin format that was designed to ensure that no 2 participants were paired in the same
group more than once across the six rounds of each game. At the end of each round, participants learned how much each member had contributed and earned. Participants were then assigned to a new group and played the next round of the publicgoods exercise with these new partners.
Before participants started each of the three games, the computer informed them what that game entailed. In the basic game, participants played the publicgoods exercise with no additions or changes. Thus, in each round, participants played in groups of 4 and all partici pants contributed as much as they wished of their 10 points to the group fund. After all 24 participants had made their contribution decisions for that round, partici pants learned how much their 3 current interaction part ners had contributed and earned for that round. Participants were then assigned to a new group and played the next round of the publicgoods exercise with these new partners. The game continued in this way for six total rounds.
The procedures of both the gossip and gossip withostracism games paralleled the basic game’s proce dure with slight changes. In the gossip game and the
Basic Gossip Gossip With Ostracism
Vote to Exclude
No One Excluded
Play With 2 Others
Play With All 3
Rounds 3, 4, 5, 6
Fig. 1. Schematic showing the timeline of the experimental procedure. In the basic game, all partici pants received an allotment of 10 points at the beginning of each round and determined how many of the points they wished to contribute to a group fund and how many they wished to keep for them selves. At the end of each round, the 4 participants in each group learned how much each member had contributed and earned. Participants were then assigned to a new group and the process was repeated. In the gossip game and the gossipwithostracism game, after learning the results of each round, partici pants were given the opportunity to send a note to the upcoming game partners of 1 of the participants they just played the game with. At the beginning of each round in the gossipwithostracism game, after receiving the gossip notes (if any were sent), participants could anonymously vote to exclude 1 participant from playing in the upcoming round; if a participant was excluded by receiving two or more exclusion votes, the remaining 3 participants played without him or her.
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