According to common wisdom, gossip channels mainly negative and often fictitious information. If it is the case: how can dishonest gossip and the resulting biased reputations legitimize social order and promote cooperation?
This is the main puzzle we tackle in this project exploiting a wide set of instruments. We use analytical modeling and agent-based simulation to derive hypotheses. We test simple hypotheses in small group experiments. We develop new methodological tools to appropriately analyze the triadic nature of gossip embedded in network flows of information. We utilize dynamic network datasets from primary and secondary school classes, and we gather qualitative and quantitative information from organizations to test conditional hypotheses about the role that gossip plays in reputation and cooperation in different developmental and social contexts of life. In addition, we apply new communication technologies currently under development to explore the hidden world of gossip and the dynamics of reputation in dormitories and organizations.
With the insights gained, we can overcome common stereotypes about gossip and highlight how gossip is related to credible reputational signals, cooperation, and social order. Expected results will help us to outline the conditions that can promote cooperation in work groups, and they will help to construct successful prevention strategies for social exclusion and for other potentially harmful consequences of the evil tongue.
Project Acronym: EVILTONGUE
Proposal number: 648693
Proposal Title: No Sword Bites So Fiercely as an Evil Tongue? Gossip Wrecks Reputation, but Enhances Cooperation
Principal Investigator: Károly Takács
Main institutional contacts:
- TK CSS-RECENS
- Corvinus University of Budapest, Doctoral School of Sociology
- CEU DNDS
- ETHZ, Social Networks Lab
- University of Zürich, IKMZ
- University of Groningen, Department of Sociology
- ICS Graduate School
- University of Manchester, The Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis
- University of Milan, BEHAVE
- University of Brescia, Research Group on Experimental and Computational Sociology
- KRTK, ANET Lab
- Workshop on Gossip, Reputation and Honesty, 17-18 May 2018, Budapest
- The Language of Cooperation: Reputation and Honest Signaling, 2-6 September, 2019, Leiden, Lorentz Center
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no 648693).