What Did You Say She Was Like? Features of Gossip Associated with Hearsay Accuracy and Consensus
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When gossiping about a person, how does one’s verbal responses affect the impression formed by the gossipers? A previous study on hearsay reputation find that when two gossipers gossiping about a target person, the hearsay accuracy about the target is low but the consensus between the two gossipers is high (Costello & Srivastava, 2017). As there has not been any research, to our knowledge, examining the factors that affect hearsay accuracy and consensus, this study intends to fill in the gap by exploring verbal responses as the potential factors. This study investigated the impacts of nine types of verbal responses on the accuracy and consensus. We coded 114 gossip conversations from the previous study (Costello & Srivastava, 2017) for nine specific responses and eight global features of the conversations. We explored the extent to which these specific and global features of gossip relate to consensus and accuracy in interpersonal impressions, operationalized as profile agreements. By using profile correlations with interpersonal ratings, the result suggests that certain types of responses may be associated with accuracy and consensus; for example, offering evaluation as a type of response seems to lead to a higher consensus between gossipers but cannot lead to an accurate impression of the target. Although few of the correlations were statistically significant, this project should still help to shed light on the conversational features associated with accuracy and consensus of impressions formed through gossip.