Thursday, January 3, 2019

Targets of negative gossip experienced guilt, especially with low core self-evaluations & caused repair intentions; & anger, especially for targets with high reputational concerns, & caused retaliation intentions

Self-Evaluative and Other-Directed Emotional and Behavioral Responses to Gossip About the Self. Elena Martinescu, Onne Janssen and Bernard A. Nijstad. Front. Psychol., Jan 04 2019,

Gossip, or informal talk about others who are not present, is omnipresent in daily interactions. As such, people who are targeted are likely to hear some gossip about themselves, which may have profound implications for their well-being. We investigated the emotions and behavioral intentions of people who hear performance-related gossip about themselves. Based on the affective events theory, we predicted that gossip incidents have strong emotional consequences for their targets and that these emotional responses trigger different behaviors. Two scenario studies (N1 = 226, Mage = 21.76; N2 = 204, Mage = 34.11) and a critical incident study (N = 240, Mage = 37.04) compared targets' responses to positive and negative gossip. Whereas, targets of positive gossip experienced positive self-conscious emotions (e.g., pride), targets of negative gossip experienced negative self-conscious emotions (e.g., guilt), especially when they had low core self-evaluations. In turn, these negative self-conscious emotions predicted repair intentions. Positive gossip also led to positive other-directed emotions (e.g., liking), which predicted intentions to affiliate with the gossiper. Negative gossip, however, also generated other-directed negative emotions (e.g., anger), especially for targets with high reputational concerns, which in turn predicted retaliation intentions against the gossiper. This pattern of emotional reactions to self-relevant gossip was found to be unique and different from emotional reactions to self-relevant feedback. These results show that gossip has self-evaluative and other-directed emotional consequences, which predict how people intend to behaviorally react after hearing gossip about themselves.

These findings help understand target's emotional and behavioral reactions to gossip as functional. Repair behaviors might be an adaptive response to negative gossip, helping targets avoid further deterioration of their self-views and social relationships. Intentions to retaliate against gossipers, who have harmed targets' social capital may also be functional in deterring future reputational attacks. Furthermore, positive gossip confirms valuable attributes or goal accomplishment and serves targets' fundamental need for a positive self-view (Kunda, 1990; Sedikides and Strube, 1997), potentially motivating individuals to strive for future achievements and status (Tracy et al., 2010). Moreover, positive gossip is functional in fostering a social bond between targets and gossipers, who are likely to be perceived as supportive and trustworthy allies.

Our work also clarifies that people have distinct emotional reactions to gossip and feedback about themselves, thereby indicating that the two types of self-relevant information have distinct implications for the targets' self-evaluation and reputation. Negative feedback generated higher self-conscious negative emotions and repair intentions than negative gossip, possibly because formal feedback is communicated for improvement and development purposes and increases one's sense of self-awareness and accountability. In contrast, because negative gossip is spread in one's absence (Foster, 2004) and is not clearly intended to advance performance, it may be more easily discounted by targets, thereby generating lower self-conscious negative emotions and repair intentions. Furthermore, gossip led to higher other-directed negative emotions and to lower other-directed positive emotions than feedback, suggesting that gossip is perceived as more malignant or less benign than formal feedback, possibly because it is communicated behind one's back. These results indicate that gossip is a mechanism that parallels formal communication channels in organizations and regulates group members' behavior and interpersonal relations.

In addition to the hypothesized reactions of gossip targets, the analyses revealed other effects. Consistent across Studies 1 and 3, self-conscious positive emotions predicted retaliation intentions. Positive gossip may enable targets to evaluate themselves as better than others [i.e., hubristic pride, (Tracy et al., 2010)], possibly generating retaliation intentions, because hubristic pride instigates people to establish a reputation of dominance and assert power through aggression (Tracy et al., 2010). However, other-directed positive emotions induced by positive gossip decreased retaliation intentions (Study 3) and increased repair intentions (Studies 1 and 2). Thus, positive gossip also made targets feel included, thereby motivating prosocial and reducing antisocial behaviors. As such, positive gossip generated both retaliation and affiliation intentions by arousing self-conscious and other-directed positive emotions, respectively. Furthermore, negative gossip targets were more likely to affiliate with the gossiper due to negative self-conscious (Studies 2 and 3) and other-directed emotions (Study 3). Targets who feel guilty or ashamed may see gossipers as expert observers of their shortcomings [expert power, (Kurland and Pelled, 2000)] and seek contact to obtain support or advice. In contrast, those who are angry with gossipers may seek future contact to disprove the negative gossip, or to search for retaliation opportunities.


In line with the AET (Weiss and Cropanzano, 1996), our findings have shown that the prosocial (repair and affiliation) and antisocial (retaliation) behaviors of gossip targets are driven by affective processes, and that predispositions (CSE and CR) moderate the affective and behavioral reactions to gossip events. Future research may additionally investigate the role of other cognitive or motivational processes in shaping gossip targets' behavior, or whether gossip about the self may be experienced in a non-affective manner. Furthermore, given the differential effects of gossip vs. feedback found in Study 2, it may be interesting for the AET to distinguish between more formal vs. informal affective events at work. Our results suggest that affective reactions may differ where formal evaluations vs. gossip are concerned, and perhaps similar effects can be expected for other types of (formal vs. informal) communication at work, such as official, written communication compared to rumors.

The positive emotions generated by positive gossip are universally pleasing and can easily co-occur, as was the case in all three studies: targets were simultaneously happy with themselves and with gossipers. However, different association patterns are possible for the negative emotions aroused by negative gossip. On the one hand, gossip targets may exclusively feel negative emotions directed at the gossipers for their harmful gossiping behavior, possibly rejecting their own faults to protect their self-views (Kunda, 1990). On the other hand, targets may feel self-conscious about their shortcomings and blame gossipers for sharing the negative gossip. In Studies 1 and 2, self-conscious and other-directed negative emotions were not correlated when gossip valence was accounted for, but they were positively correlated in Study 3, suggesting that boundary conditions may apply. In Study 3 we indeed showed that the arousal of negative self-conscious and other-directed emotions depends on self-directed (CSE) and other-directed (CR) dispositional factors, respectively. Furthermore, self-conscious and other-directed negative emotions predicted whether gossip targets had prosocial (reparation) or antisocial (retaliation) intentions.

Increased market orientation causes a significant increase in discoveries of natural resources

The shifting natural wealth of nations: The role of market orientation. Rabah Arezki, Frederick van der Ploeg, Frederik Toscani. Journal of Development Economics,

•    We explore the effect of market orientation on (known or available) natural resource wealth.
•    A novel dataset combines world-wide major hydrocarbon and mineral discoveries.
•    Empirical estimates show that increased market orientation causes a significant increase in discoveries of natural resources.
•    We call into question the commonly held view that known or available natural resource endowments are exogenous.

Abstract: This paper explores the effect of market orientation on (known or available) natural resource wealth using a novel dataset of world-wide major hydrocarbon and mineral discoveries. Our empirical estimates based on a large panel of countries show that increased market orientation causes a significant increase in discoveries of natural resources. In a thought experiment where economies in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa remain closed, they would have only achieved one quarter of the actual increase in discoveries they have experienced since the early 1990s. Our results call into question the commonly held view that known or available natural resource endowments are exogenous.

Danish high-quality administrative data: Individuals with relatively low time discounting are persistently positioned higher in the wealth distribution

Time Discounting, Savings Behavior, and Wealth Inequality. Thomas Epper, Ernst Fehr, Helga Fehr-Duda, Claus Thustrup Kreiner, David D. Lassen, Søren Leth-Petersen, Gregers Nytoft-Rasmussen. AEA Wealth Inequality & Wealth Taxation Paper Session Jan 2019,

Abstract: The distribution of wealth in society is very unequal and has important economic and political consequences. According to standard life-cycle savings theory, differences in time discounting behavior across individuals can play an important role for their position in the wealth distribution. Empirical testing of this hypothesis has been difficult because of serious data limitations. We overcome these limitations by linking an experimental measure of time discounting for a large sample of middle-aged individuals to Danish high-quality administrative data with information about their real-life wealth over the life-cycle as well as a large number of background characteristics. The results show that individuals with relatively low time discounting are persistently positioned higher in the wealth distribution. The relationship is of the same magnitude as the association between years of education and the position in the wealth distribution, and it robustly persists after controlling for a large number of theoretically motivated confounders such as education, risk aversion, school grades, income, credit constraints, initial wealth, and parental wealth. These findings support the view that individual differences in time discounting affect individuals’ positions in the wealth distribution through the savings channel.

The increasing value of time raises the cost of commuting & exogenously increases the demand for central locations by high-skilled workers, magnified by endogenous amenity improvement

Su, Yichen, The Rising Value of Time and the Origin of Urban Gentrification (December 12, 2018).

Abstract: I estimate a spatial equilibrium model to show that the rising value of high-skilled workers' time is an important driving force behind the gentrification of American central cities. I show that the increasing value of time raises the cost of commuting and exogenously increases the demand for central locations by high-skilled workers. While change in value of time is an initial force behind gentrification, its effect is substantially magnified by endogenous amenity improvement. The model implies that welfare inequality in the recent decades increases by more than the rise in earnings inequality if the forces behind gentrification are considered.

Keywords: urban, gentrification, spatial equilibrium, value of time, neighborhood, amenities, rent, housing supply, urban revival, inequality, work hours, long-hour premium, overtime
JEL Classification: J22, R12, R2, R31, R30, R31

The Effect of Aggressive Fantasy on Subjective Well-Being: Stuck on the Train of Ruminative Thoughts, Diminishing Well-Being

Stuck on the Train of Ruminative Thoughts: The Effect of Aggressive Fantasy on Subjective Well-Being. Kai-Tak Poon, Wing-Yan Wong. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,

Abstract: Previous studies have focused almost exclusively on identifying the antecedents of aggression and violence; as such, there are virtually no experimental data about the psychological consequences of fantasizing aggressive and violent actions. The present experiment aimed to fill this significant informational void in the literature by testing whether aggressive fantasy would influence people’s rumination tendency and subjective well-being. We hypothesized that aggressive fantasy would make people more likely to ruminate, which would thereby lower their subjective well-being. To test this prediction, we recruited a sample of participants, who were adults in the United States (overall valid N = 113; 39 men; mean age = 36.27, SD = 11.27), and they were randomly assigned to either the aggressive fantasy condition or the control condition. At the beginning of the experiment, participants were asked to think of a person they despised and describe the characteristics of the despised person. Next, participants in the aggressive fantasy condition fantasized aggressive and violent actions toward the despised target, while participants in the control condition fantasized a control experience. Finally, their state rumination and subjective well-being were assessed. The results showed that, relative to participants who did not fantasize aggression, those who engaged in aggressive fantasy reported higher levels of rumination and lower levels of subjective well-being. Further analysis showed that enhanced rumination significantly mediated the effect of aggressive fantasy on subjective well-being. The present findings contribute to the literature by providing new insights into the psychological consequences of aggressive and violent responses and the underlying mechanism.

Keywords: aggressive fantasy, aggression, rumination, subjective well-being, antisocial tendency

Fetal Origins of Mental Disorders? A Negative Answer Based on Mendelian Randomization

Fetal Origins of Mental Disorders? An Answer Based on Mendelian Randomization. Subhi Arafat and Camelia C. Minică. Twin Research and Human Genetics, Volume 21, Issue 6, December 2018 , pp. 485-494,

Abstract: The Barker hypothesis states that low birth weight (BW) is associated with higher risk of adult onset diseases, including mental disorders like schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The main criticism of this hypothesis is that evidence for it comes from observational studies. Specifically, observational evidence does not suffice for inferring causality, because the associations might reflect the effects of confounders. Mendelian randomization (MR) — a novel method that tests causality on the basis of genetic data — creates the unprecedented opportunity to probe the causality in the association between BW and mental disorders in observation studies. We used MR and summary statistics from recent large genome-wide association studies to test whether the association between BW and MDD, schizophrenia and ADHD is causal. We employed the inverse variance weighted (IVW) method in conjunction with several other approaches that are robust to possible assumption violations. MR-Egger was used to rule out horizontal pleiotropy. IVW showed that the association between BW and MDD, schizophrenia and ADHD is not causal (all p > .05). The results of all the other MR methods were similar and highly consistent. MR-Egger provided no evidence for pleiotropic effects biasing the estimates of the effects of BW on MDD (intercept = -0.004, SE = 0.005, p = .372), schizophrenia (intercept = 0.003, SE = 0.01, p = .769), or ADHD (intercept = 0.009, SE = 0.01, p = .357). Based on the current evidence, we refute the Barker hypothesis concerning the fetal origins of adult mental disorders. The discrepancy between our results and the results from observational studies may be explained by the effects of confounders in the observational studies, or by the existence of a small causal effect not detected in our study due to weak instruments. Our power analyses suggested that the upper bound for a potential causal effect of BW on mental disorders would likely not exceed an odds ratio of 1.2.

Processes operating in the crime location choices between body‐disposing & non‐body‐disposing serial killers, & between sexual & acquisitive serial killers in Germany

Crime location choices: A geographical analysis of German serial killers. John Synnott et al. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling,

Abstract: The present study examined whether there are different processes operating in the crime location choices between body‐disposing and non‐body‐disposing serial killers and between sexual serial killers and acquisitive serial killers. A sample of 49 series of solved German serial killings is used to examine the differences in travelled distances between these groups of killers. Nonparametric tests revealed that body‐disposing and non‐body‐disposing serial killers and sexual and acquisitive serial killers did not constitute subgroups of serial killers regarding their spatial behaviour. The results suggest that the compared groups are subjected to the same factors that influence their travelled distances. Furthermore, the possible role of planning and anticipated emotions in crime location choices of serial killers is discussed, as well as the limitations of the study and recommendations for future research.

Human children but not chimpanzees make irrational decisions driven by social comparison: Uniquely human social skills & motivations do not necessarily lead to more prosociality or cooperation

Human children but not chimpanzees make irrational decisions driven by social comparison. Esther Herrmann, Lou M. Haux, Henriette Zeidler and Jan M. Engelmann. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, January 2019, Volume 286, Issue 1894.

Abstract: Human evolutionary success is often argued to be rooted in specialized social skills and motivations that result in more prosocial, rational and cooperative decisions. One manifestation of human ultra-sociality is the tendency to engage in social comparison. While social comparison studies typically focus on cooperative behaviour and emphasize concern for fairness and equality, here we investigate the competitive dimension of social comparison: a preference for getting more than others, expressed in a willingness to maximize relative payoff at the cost of absolute payoff. Chimpanzees and human children (5–6- and 9–10-year-olds) could decide between an option that maximized their absolute payoff (but put their partner at an advantage) and an option that maximized their relative payoff (but decreased their own and their partner's payoff). Results show that, in contrast to chimpanzees and young children, who consistently selected the rational and payoff-maximizing option, older children paid a cost to reduce their partner's payoff to a level below their own. This finding demonstrates that uniquely human social skills and motivations do not necessarily lead to more prosocial, rational and cooperative decision-making.

High mutual cooperation rates in rats learning reciprocal altruism: This finding allows to infer that the learning of reciprocal altruism has early appeared in evolution

High mutual cooperation rates in rats learning reciprocal altruism: The role of payoff matrix. Guillermo E. Delmas, Sergio E. Lew, B. Silvano Zanutto. PLOS One, Jan 2 2019.

Abstract: Cooperation is one of the most studied paradigms for the understanding of social interactions. Reciprocal altruism -a special type of cooperation that is taught by means of the iterated prisoner dilemma game (iPD)- has been shown to emerge in different species with different success rates. When playing iPD against a reciprocal opponent, the larger theoretical long-term reward is delivered when both players cooperate mutually. In this work, we trained rats in iPD against an opponent playing a Tit for Tat strategy, using a payoff matrix with positive and negative reinforcements, that is food and timeout respectively. We showed for the first time, that experimental rats were able to learn reciprocal altruism with a high average cooperation rate, where the most probable state was mutual cooperation (85%). Although when subjects defected, the most probable behavior was to go back to mutual cooperation. When we modified the matrix by increasing temptation rewards (T) or by increasing cooperation rewards (R), the cooperation rate decreased. In conclusion, we observe that an iPD matrix with large positive reward improves less cooperation than one with small rewards, shown that satisfying the relationship among iPD reinforcement was not enough to achieve high mutual cooperation behavior. Therefore, using positive and negative reinforcements and an appropriate contrast between rewards, rats have cognitive capacity to learn reciprocal altruism. This finding allows to infer that the learning of reciprocal altruism has early appeared in evolution.