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Gossip about in-group and out-group norm deviations

Imada, Hirotaka; Rullo, Marika; Hopthrow, Tim; Van de Vyver, Julie; Zagefka, Hanna

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Hirotaka Imada

Marika Rullo

Tim Hopthrow

Hanna Zagefka


Gossip plays an essential role in our societies, and individuals gossip about others’ behavior for various reasons. While previous studies have consistently demonstrated that individuals are more willing to gossip about norm deviations, existing research has understudied the potential role of the group membership of gossip target (i.e. a person who is gossiped about) and gossip recipient (a person who is gossiped to) on the tendency to instigate gossip about norm deviation. We conducted a study (N = 1038) in which we orthogonally manipulated the group membership of a gossip target and a gossip recipient as well as types of target behavior (normative, negative norm deviation, and positive norm deviation), and tested several preregistered hypotheses regarding the willingness to gossip and gossip motivations. We found that individuals were more willing to gossip about negative and positive norm deviations compared to normative behavior regardless of the group membership of a gossip target and recipient, except when they consider gossiping about in-group negative norm deviation toward an out-group member. Gossip motivations substantially varied depending on the valence of norm deviation and the group membership.


Imada, H., Rullo, M., Hopthrow, T., Van de Vyver, J., & Zagefka, H. (2022). Gossip about in-group and out-group norm deviations. Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology, 6(1-3), 113-133.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 18, 2023
Journal Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology
Print ISSN 2374-3603
Electronic ISSN 2374-3611
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 1-3
Pages 113-133


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Copyright Statement
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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