Reading Group's Schedule of Fall 2017

Sept. 1: Martin G. Kocher; Simeon Schudy; Lisa Spantig (2016) I lie? We lie! Why? Experimental evidence on a dishonesty shift in groups Munich Discussion Paper No.

Abstract: Unethical behavior such as dishonesty, cheating and corruption occurs frequently in organizations or groups. Recent experimental evidence suggests that there is a stronger inclination to behave immorally in groups than individually. We ask if this is the case, and if so, why. Using a parsimonious laboratory setup, we study how individual behavior changes when deciding as a group member. We observe a strong dishonesty shift. This shift is mainly driven by communication within groups and turns out to be independent of whether group members face payoff commonality or not (i.e. whether other group members benefit from one’s lie). Group members come up with and exchange more arguments for being dishonest than for complying with the norm of honesty. Thereby, group membership shifts the perception of the validity of the honesty norm and of its distribution in the population.


Sept. 8: Saját kutatás / own research: Havelda Anikó


Sept.15: Vilone, D., Giardini, F. & Paolucci M. (2016) New Frontiers in the Study of Social Phenomena, chap. Partner selection supports reputation-based cooperation in a Public Goods Game, Springer.

Abstract: In dyadic models of indirect reciprocity, the receivers’ history of giving has a significant impact on the donor’s decision. When the interaction involves more than two agents things become more complicated, and in large groups cooperation can hardly emerge. In this work we use a Public Goods Game to investigate whether publicly available reputation scores may support the evolution of cooperation and whether this is affected by the kind of network structure adopted. Moreover, if agents interact on a bipartite graph with partner selection cooperation can thrive in large groups and in a small amount of time


Oct. 6: Feinberg, M., Willer, R., Stellar, J., & Keltner, D. (2012). The virtues of gossip: reputational information sharing as prosocial behavior. Journal of personality and social psychology102(5), 1015.

Abstract: Reputation systems promote cooperation and deter antisocial behavior in groups. Little is known, however, about how and why people share reputational information. Here, we seek to establish the existence and dynamics of prosocial gossip, the sharing of negative evaluative information about a target in a way that protects others from antisocial or exploitative behavior. We present a model of prosocial gossip and the results of 4 studies testing the model’s claims. Results of Studies 1 through 3 demonstrate that (a) individuals who observe an antisocial act experience negative affect and are compelled to share information about the antisocial actor with a potentially vulnerable person, (b) sharing such information reduces negative affect created by observing the antisocial behavior, and (c) individuals possessing more prosocial orientations are the most motivated to engage in such gossip, even at a personal cost, and exhibit the greatest reduction in negative affect as a result. Study 4 demonstrates that prosocial gossip can effectively deter selfishness and promote cooperation. Taken together these results highlight the roles of prosocial motivations and negative affective reactions to injustice in maintaining reputational information sharing in groups. We conclude by discussing implications for reputational theories of the maintenance of cooperation in human groups.


Oct. 13: Saját kutatás / own research: Samu Flóra


Oct. 20: Stadtfeld, C.; Hollway, J & Block, P. Dynamic Network Actor Models: Investigating Coordination Ties through Time. Sociological Methodology, 2017, 47(1)

Stadtfeld, C. & Block, P: Interactions, Actors and Time: Dynamic Network Actor Models for Relational Events. Sociological Science, 2017, 4(1), pp. 318-352


Nov. 10: Saját kutatás / own research: Havadi Gergő


Nov. 17: Thornborrow, J. and Morris, D. (2004), Gossip as strategy: The management of talk about others on reality TV show ‘Big Brother’.Journal of Sociolinguistics, 8: 246–271. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2004.00260.x

Abstract: In this paper we examine the nature of gossip talk as an activity type in the context of the TV game show ‘Big Brother’. Using a detailed analytic approach to the situated nature of gossip sequences, we show how participants in the show manage gossip talk strategically to establish social relationships within the house, as well as to present themselves in a positive way to the viewing (and voting) audience. We argue that there is a contextual double framing for talk in the Big Brother (BB) house which participants are orienting to, both as members of a social group, and as players in a TV game show. The paper thus contributes to existing work on the social function of gossip, as well as exploring its strategic function in this particular interactional context, calling into question the nature of ‘natural’ discourse.


Nov. 24: Saját kutatás / own research: Számadó Szabolcs


Dec. 1: Feinberg, M., Willer, R. & Schultz, M. Gossip and ostracism promote cooperation in groups. Psychological Science 25, 656–664 (2014).

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 mixed-motive 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.


Dec. 8: Saját kutatás / own research: Radó Márta


Dec.15: Interns