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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The argument developed in this chapter is that gossip and reputation constitute elements of social intelligence; they are intrinsically linked social psychological processes adapted to human needs to sustain and successfully navigate the complex social worlds humans inhabit. First, gossiping serves an informal social control function, sensitizing social actors to the reputational costs of bad behavior. Second, however, attention to gossip, and skilled appraisal of the information it provides, feeds into reputational judgments of personality and character, allowing these judgments to serve as more reliable predictions about others. These claims are tested against available research evidence, while gaps in the evidential framework are identified as foci for future work.

Keywords: gossip, reputation, cooperation, personality, character, social control, social intelligence

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