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Interpersonal Chemistry through Negativity: Bonding by Sharing Negative Attitudes about Others

Published on Jun 1, 2006in Personal Relationships 0.91
· DOI :10.1111/j.1475-6811.2006.00109.x
Jennifer K. Bosson26
Estimated H-index: 26
(University of Texas at Austin),
Amber Johnson4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Texas at Austin)
+ 1 AuthorsWilliam B. Swann60
Estimated H-index: 60
(University of Texas at Austin)
We propose that sharing a negative—as compared to a positive—attitude about a third party is particularly effective in promoting closeness between people. Findings from two survey studies and an experiment support this idea. In Studies 1 and 2, participants’ open-ended responses revealed a tendency to recall sharing with their closest friends more negative than positive attitudes about other people. Study 3 established that discovering a shared negative attitude about a target person predicted liking for a stranger more strongly than discovering a shared positive attitude (but only when attitudes were weak). Presumably, sharing negative attitudes is alluring because it establishes in-group/out-group boundaries, boosts self-esteem, and conveys highly diagnostic information about attitude holders. Despite the apparent ubiquity of this effect, participants seemed unaware of it. Instead, they asserted that sharing positive attitudes about others would be particularly effective in promoting closeness.
  • References (46)
  • Citations (63)
Published on Sep 20, 2017
Ralph H. Turner20
Estimated H-index: 20
"A valuable compendium: broad In scope, rich In detail: It should be a most useful reference for students and teachers." This is how Alex Inkeles of Stanford University described this text. It is made more so in this paperback edition aimed to reach a broad student population in sociology and psychology. The new Introduction written by Rosenberg and Turner brings the story of social psychology up to date by a rich and detailed examination of trends and tendencies of the 1980s. Although social ps...
497 Citations
Published on Jun 1, 2004in Review of General Psychology 2.32
Eric K. Foster1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Pennsylvania)
A half century of gossip research from multiple disciplines is reviewed. Discussed are definitions of the construct; social, evolutionary, and personal functions of the practice; and data collection methods. Though people engage in the practice frequently, there has been relatively little psychological research on gossip. The layperson’s understanding of the term is included in, but insufficient to encompass, definitions used by researchers. Most data are ethnographic and discursive, and few par...
212 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2004in Review of General Psychology 2.32
Roy F. Baurneister130
Estimated H-index: 130
(Florida State University),
Liqing Zhang7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Case Western Reserve University),
Kathleen D. Vohs65
Estimated H-index: 65
(University of Utah)
To complement views of gossip as essentially a means of gaining information about individuals, cementing social bonds, and engaging in indirect aggression, the authors propose that gossip serves to help people learn about how to live in their cultural society. Gossip anecdotes communicate rules in narrative form, such as by describing how someone else came to grief by violating social norms. Gossip is thus an extension of observational learning, allowing one to learn from the triumphs and misadv...
239 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2004in Review of General Psychology 2.32
Sarah R. Wert2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Yale University),
Peter Salovey85
Estimated H-index: 85
(Yale University)
The central thesis of this article is that all gossip involves social comparison. Research on social comparison is applied toward understanding motivations for gossip. In addition, the authors address why gossip tends to be negative and make predictions about factors that trigger especially negative talk about others. Factors such as need for moral information, powerlessness, formation and maintenance of in-groups and out-groups, and situations that bring on perceptions of injustice or feelings ...
133 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2004in Review of General Psychology 2.32
R. I. M. Dunbar86
Estimated H-index: 86
(Social Science Research Council)
Conversation is a uniquely human phenomenon. Analyses of freely forming conversations indicate that approximately two thirds of conversation time is devoted to social topics, most of which can be given the generic label gossip. This article first explores the origins of gossip as a mechanism for bonding social groups, tracing these origins back to social grooming among primates. It then asks why social gossip in this sense should form so important a component of human interaction and presents ev...
407 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2003in Psychological Science 6.13
Ap Dijksterhuis47
Estimated H-index: 47
Henk Aarts47
Estimated H-index: 47
On the basis of a functional perspective, we hypothesized that negative stimuli are detected faster than positive stimuli. In Ex- periment 1, participants were subliminally presented with positive and negative words or with no words at all. After each presentation, par- ticipants were asked whether they had seen a word. They detected neg- ative words more accurately than positive words. In Experiment 2, participants were subliminally presented with negative or positive words. After each presenta...
243 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jul 1, 2002in Self and Identity 1.44
William B. Swann60
Estimated H-index: 60
Brett W. Pelham14
Estimated H-index: 14
The results of a field investigation indicate that people who are highly invested in their self-views (confidently held or personally important) are especially inclined to display a preference for verification of their self-views. Specifically, only those participants who were certain of their self-views or perceived them as important preferred roommates who confirmed their self-views. Such preferences were some-what stronger when the self-views were relatively negative. This is the first demons...
101 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2001in Review of General Psychology 2.32
Roy F. Baurneister130
Estimated H-index: 130
(Case Western Reserve University),
Ellen Bratslavsky6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Ohio State University)
+ 1 AuthorsKathleen D. Vohs65
Estimated H-index: 65
(Case Western Reserve University)
The greater power of bad events over good ones is found in everyday events, major life events (e.g., trauma), close relationship outcomes, social network patterns, interpersonal interactions, and learning processes. Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. The self is more motivated to avoid bad self-definitions than to pursue good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more...
3,341 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2001
Henri Tajfel35
Estimated H-index: 35
John C. Turner52
Estimated H-index: 52
7,160 Citations
Published on Jan 1, 2001
Ralph L. Rosnow36
Estimated H-index: 36
(Temple University)
77 Citations Source Cite
Cited By63
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Personality and Individual Differences 1.97
Konrad Rudnicki1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Antwerp),
Charlotte De Backer12
Estimated H-index: 12
(University of Antwerp),
Carolyn H. Declerck2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Antwerp)
Abstract Previous research suggests that gossip serves several functions in regulating group dynamics (e.g. bonding, entertainment) and is preferentially used by prosocial individuals to protect the group from exploitation. However, it is still unclear what mechanisms underlie these functions and compel prosocial people to gossip. Because gossip provides information about the attitudes and moral views of an interaction partner we hypothesized that for prosocial individuals it functions as a cue ...
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Published on May 2, 2019in Social Psychological and Personality Science 2.63
Megan L. Robbins9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of California, Riverside),
Alexander Karan1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of California, Riverside)
Although laypeople often view gossipers as immoral, uneducated, typically female, and of lower social class, no systematic observation has empirically revealed the characteristics of those who gossip more than others nor examined the characteristics of gossip across everyday contexts. We used data from five naturalistic observation studies (N = 467) to examine who gossips and how. All participants wore the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), which acoustically sampled 5–12% over 2–5 days, a...
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Published on Aug 8, 2018in Communication Quarterly
Jeffrey A. Hall14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Kansas)
To test the communicate bond belong (CBB) theory, this investigation explores the association between communication episode and closeness, affective well-being, and social energy expenditure. Participants from community (n = 62) and student (n = 54) samples were contacted five times a day for five consecutive days and reported on social interactions. Multilevel model results (n = 2,722) indicated that four episodes (i.e., affection, meaningful talk, catching up, joking around) were associated wi...
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Published on Aug 1, 2018in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2.50
Hans Alves7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Cologne)
People like others who share their attitudes. Online dating platforms as well as other social media platforms regularly rely on the social bonding power of their users’ shared attitudes. However, little is known about moderating variables. In the present work, I argue that sharing rare compared with sharing common attitudes should evoke stronger interpersonal attraction among people. In five studies, I tested this prediction for the case of shared interests from different domains. I found conver...
3 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2018in Journal of Management 8.08
Long-Zeng Wu14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Shanghai University of Finance and Economics),
Thomas A. Birtch14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of Cambridge)
+ 1 AuthorsHaina Zhang7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Glasgow)
We present and test a self-consistency theory framework for gossip: that perceived negative workplace gossip influences our self-perceptions and, in turn, this influences our behaviors. Using supervisor-subordinate dyadic time-lagged data (n = 403), we demonstrated that perceived negative workplace gossip adversely influenced target employees’ organization-based self-esteem, which, in turn, influenced their citizenship behavior directed at the organization and at its members. Moreover, by integr...
9 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 12, 2018in Journal of Managerial Psychology 1.55
Chien-Chih Kuo6
Estimated H-index: 6
Chih-Ying Wu2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Soochow University (Taiwan)),
Chia-Wu Lin1
Estimated H-index: 1
(National Dong Hwa University)
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of supervisor gossip in the workplace. This paper proposes a hypothetical model in which supervisor gossip has an effect on leader-member exchange (LMX), in turn resulting in perceived supervisor ostracism among subordinates. Design/methodology/approach A dyadic research design was applied to collect data from Taiwanese employees. Supervisors participated in a survey containing measures of supervisor gossip and control variables, whereas s...
2 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 2, 2018in Journal of Social Psychology 1.23
Megan K. McCarty5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Amherst College),
Nicole E. Iannone4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus)
+ 1 AuthorsJanice R. Kelly25
Estimated H-index: 25
(Purdue University)
ABSTRACTWe explored conditions under which being in the loop may be an undesirable experience. We tested whether information valence moderates the effects of being in versus out of the loop in four studies. In a pilot study, participants imagined positive and negative events and indicated the degree to which they would like to know this information. In Study 1, participants imagined being in or out of the loop on positive or negative information and indicated how they would feel. In Study 2, par...
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Published on Dec 4, 2017in Journal of Gender Studies 0.92
Eyal Eckhaus2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Ariel University),
Batia Ben-Hador1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Ariel University)
AbstractIn this study, we attempt to evaluate gender-based differences in gossiping habits, subjects and sentiments. In order to do so, a mixed methods research approach comprising qualitative and quantitative analyses was employed. Questionnaires were filled out by 2230 participants, and an open question format was used, with participants imagining a scenario in which they are invited to describe to a friend, a person they had just met. Our findings suggest that, quantitatively speaking, women ...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2017in British Journal of Social Psychology 1.77
Elizabeth C. Pinel15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Vermont),
Geneva C. Yawger2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Vermont)
+ 3 AuthorsSasha K. Finnell1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Vermont)
People persistently undermine the humanness of outgroup members, leaving researchers perplexed as to how to address this problem of ‘dehumanization’ (Haslam & Loughnan, 2014, Ann Rev of Psychol, 65, 399; Leyens, 2009, Group Process Intergroup Relat, 12, 807). Here, we test whether I-sharing (i.e., sharing a subjective experience) counters this tendency by promoting the humanization of outgroup members. In Study 1, White participants had a face-to-face meeting with a White or Black confederate an...
4 Citations Source Cite