Title

The Effect of Contextual Variables on Gossip Transmission

Presenter Information

Bradley Campbell
Joshua Parker

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Gossip is the exchange of personal evaluative information about absent third parties. Although gossip and rumor have been traditionally equated, they differ with regard to the context in which they surface and in the type of information they convey. Gossip has been examined from many perspectives such as gossiper approval ratings, gossip veracity, and gossip valence (i.e., positive or negative). The present research sought to further assess the effects of gossip valence as well as the context and the mode of conveyance on self-reported likelihood of transmission. In Experiment 1, 106 undergraduates completed the Gossip Propensity Scale (GPS) in addition to other personality measures. Factor analysis of the GPS revealed three factors, interpreted as emotional consequences/experience, indirect communication, and concern for other’s reactions. In Experiment 2, 252 students completed the GPS and the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ; assessing empathic thinking) in response to 1 of 12 vignettes varying in whether the information they conveyed was positive or negative, if the setting was academic or personal, and if the information was conveyed face-to-face, through email, or in text-messaging. An initial 2 x 2 x 3 MANCOVA was conducted on the GPS subscale scores with the TEQ as the covariate, but through lack of effect was removed and a subsequent 2 x 2 x 3 MANOVA was conducted. The results revealed a multivariate three-way interaction with respect to the three GPS subscales. These findings suggest that several characteristics of the information influence gossip transmission, further analyses of this interaction are currently ongoing.

Poster Number

16

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kara Gabriel, Susan Lonborg

Additional Mentoring Department

Psychology

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May 17th, 2:00 PM May 17th, 4:30 PM

The Effect of Contextual Variables on Gossip Transmission

SURC Ballroom A

Gossip is the exchange of personal evaluative information about absent third parties. Although gossip and rumor have been traditionally equated, they differ with regard to the context in which they surface and in the type of information they convey. Gossip has been examined from many perspectives such as gossiper approval ratings, gossip veracity, and gossip valence (i.e., positive or negative). The present research sought to further assess the effects of gossip valence as well as the context and the mode of conveyance on self-reported likelihood of transmission. In Experiment 1, 106 undergraduates completed the Gossip Propensity Scale (GPS) in addition to other personality measures. Factor analysis of the GPS revealed three factors, interpreted as emotional consequences/experience, indirect communication, and concern for other’s reactions. In Experiment 2, 252 students completed the GPS and the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (TEQ; assessing empathic thinking) in response to 1 of 12 vignettes varying in whether the information they conveyed was positive or negative, if the setting was academic or personal, and if the information was conveyed face-to-face, through email, or in text-messaging. An initial 2 x 2 x 3 MANCOVA was conducted on the GPS subscale scores with the TEQ as the covariate, but through lack of effect was removed and a subsequent 2 x 2 x 3 MANOVA was conducted. The results revealed a multivariate three-way interaction with respect to the three GPS subscales. These findings suggest that several characteristics of the information influence gossip transmission, further analyses of this interaction are currently ongoing.