- Informational Warfare
Hess, Nicole C. and Hagen, Edward H. (2002) Informational Warfare.
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Recent empirical and theoretical work suggests that reputation was an important
mediator of access to resources in ancestral human environments. Reputations
were built and maintained by the collection, analysis, and dissemination of
information about the actions and capabilities of group members-that is, by
gossiping. Strategic gossiping would have been an excellent strategy for
manipulating reputations and thereby competing effectively for resources and
for cooperative relationships with group members who could best provide such
resources. Coalitions (cliques) may have increased members' abilities to
manipulate reputations by gossiping. Because, over evolutionary time, women may
have experienced more within-group competition than men, and because female
reputations may have been more vulnerable than male reputations to gossip,
gossiping may have been a more important strategy for women than men.
Consequently, women may have evolved specializations for gossiping alone and in
coalitions. We develop and partially test this theory.
Keywords: gossip, female coalitions, friendship, reputation, status
Subjects: Biology: Sociobiology
Psychology: Evolutionary Psychology
Psychology: Social Psychology
ID code: cog00002112
Deposited by: Edward Hagen on 27 February 2002
Alternative Locations: http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~hess/gossip.pdf