Gossip as an effective and low-cost form of punishment

Matthew Feinberg, Joey T. Cheng, Robb Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The spreading of reputational information about group members through gossip represents a widespread, efficient, and low-cost form of punishment. Research shows that negative arousal states motivate individuals to gossip about the transgressions of group members. By sharing information in this way groups are better able to promote cooperation and maintain social control and order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25
Number of pages1
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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