Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Strategically harmed & failed to enhance the reputations of other women who threatened their romantic prospects directly (by flirting with their romantic mates) & indirectly (by being attractive or provocatively dressed)

Competitive reputation manipulation: Women strategically transmit social information about romantic rivals. Tania Reynolds, Roy F. Baumeister, Jon K. Maner. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,

•    Women transmit same-sex romantic rivals' social information strategically.
•    Women harm reputations of attractive, flirtatious, and provocatively dressed women.
•    Competitive women transmit more reputation-harming information about other women.
•    Women damage rivals' reputations but do not report explicitly disliking them.

Abstract: Researchers have suggested that women compete with same-sex peers using indirect social tactics. However, the specific predictors and mechanisms of this form of female intrasexual competition are less well understood. We propose that one mechanism by which women harm rivals' social opportunities is through selectively transmitting reputation-relevant social information. Moreover, we contend that this behavior is designed to undermine the romantic and social appeal of same-sex romantic rivals who are perceived to be threatening. Evidence from five studies suggests that women's dissemination of social information is strategic and reliably predicted by various cues of romantic rival threat: attempts at mate poaching (Study 1), physical attractiveness (Studies 2 and 3), and provocative clothing (Studies 4 and 5). Women strategically harmed and failed to enhance the reputations of other women who threatened their romantic prospects directly (by flirting with their romantic partners) and indirectly (by being attractive or provocatively dressed). Women's dispositional levels of competitiveness also predicted their information transmission: highly competitive women (both generally and in romantic domains specifically) disclosed more reputation-damaging information than did less competitive women. Furthermore, women transmitted reputation-harming information about female targets independent of how much they explicitly liked those targets, suggesting a disconnect between women's intentions and their gossip behavior. Irrespective of the gossiper's intentions, pilot data confirmed that social harm is likely to befall the women targeted by the transmission of reputation-damaging social information.

Keywords: Gossip; Intrasexual competition; Indirect aggression; Competitiveness; Reputation

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