Debunking myths on genetics and DNA

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wanna be likeable? Zip your mouth!

I saw this post on BPS Research Digest: Prolific gossipers are disliked and seen as weak and couldn't help but spread the word. This is the original paper:

Is gossip power? The inverse relationships between gossip, power, and likability

The paper, by Sally Farley, from the University of Baltimore, looked at 128 individuals who were asked to rate how likeable (or not) people they knew as either gossipers or non-gossipers were.

It appears that gossiping "ain't so cool" after all.

Although, the statistician in me has me wondering: "What about bias?" Whenever people fill out questionnaires like this one, how can researchers ensure that they will answer truthfully? Especially in a study like this, where we all know that "morally" gossiping is bad, is the likelihood of a "moral bias" (as in people tend to answer that gossiping makes one less likeable because they know that's what they are supposed to think) real?

Photo: fall leaves. Canon 40D, exposure time 1/60, focal length 85mm. 

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