Progress beyond the state of the art until 31 May 2017 and expected potential impact

We started to develop models that are able to explain why and under which conditions honest gossip is viable; how and under which structural conditions it enhances cooperation and contributes to the maintenance of social order. In this endeavor, we combined and built on insights gained in various disciplines.
Our model results have demonstrated that the ideal world in which self-emerging reputation systems solve the problem of large-scale cooperation is illusionary. The possibility of deception makes the evolution of cooperation via indirect reciprocity and reputation mechanisms extremely fragile (Számadó et al., 2016, PLOS One). In line with previous literature, we have also shown that direct reciprocity is able to overcome the problem of cooperation, but this solution is problematic due to the unrealistic assumption of complete information on every potential interaction partner in a large scale society. Hence, we have pursued the investigation of indirect reciprocity based reputation mechanisms further. We found that strategies that utilize local rather than global reputational information are more successful and able to establish large scale cooperation (Righi and Takács, 2017, ECMS Proceedings).
Our school and organizational studies have demonstrated that gossip and reputation systems are not independent of the goals individuals strive for in the specific context. A discrepancy between the informal status order and direct personal status attribution to other peers is a particularly important determinant of dislike and negative ties (Pál et al., 2016, Journal of Research on Adolescence) and gossip (Kisfalusi, Pál, and Takács, submitted to Handbook of Gossip and Reputation). Reputational status concerns are often generalized to other members of the group of the target via social network mechanisms (Grow, Pál, and Takács, 2016, Social Psychology Quarterly; Kisfalusi, Janky, and Takács, submitted). In the organizational context, wage and opinion brokers seem to be crucial (Pápay and Takács, 2017, EGOS conference paper; Bodor-Eranus, 2017, EGOS conference paper).
In order to record and analyze the factual patterns of gossip and their relation to reputation and cooperation, we make an innovative use of smartwatches for social science research. This innovative use of cutting edge technologies will make it possible to explore the world of social conversations in a more precise and objective way than ever been done before. We have invested in the development of a Bluetooth distance-based application that makes the ethical and controlled way of recording and saving conversations possible among informed and consented participants. Our technological innovation for the study of social interactions is likely to have a wide impact on social science research methodology. Our study is likely to establish standards of ethical guidelines, data use, and analysis. Our technological developments will provide access for other researchers to research questions they could not address before due to measurement problems. In short, the perspectives we open up will truly fertilize social science research in similar as well as other domains.