Gossip for social control in natural and artificial societies
In this work we propose a theory of gossip as a means for social control. Exercising social control roughly means to isolate and to punish cheaters. However, punishment is costly and it inevitably implies the problem of second-order cooperation. Moving from a cognitive model of gossip, we report data from ethnographic studies and agent-based simulations to support our claim that gossip reduces the costs of social control without lowering its efficacy.