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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In a social dilemma the interest of the individual is in conflict with that of the group. However, individuals will help their group, if they gain in reputation that pays off later. Future partners can observe cooperative or defective behavior or, more likely, hear about it through gossip. In Indirect Reciprocity games, Public Goods games, and Trust games gossip may be the only information a participant can use to decide whether she can trust her interaction partner and give away her holdings hoping for reciprocation. Even the mere potential for gossip can increase trust and trustworthiness thus promoting cooperation. Gossip is a cheap mechanism for disciplining free riders, potentially even extortioners. The temptation for manipulative gossip defines the gossiper’s dilemma. Psychological adaptations for assessing gossip veracity help to avoid being manipulated. The danger of false gossip is reduced when multiple gossips exist.

Keywords: gossip, social dilemma, cooperation, reputation, prisoner’s dilemma, public goods game, trust game, indirect reciprocity, strategic reputation building

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