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Abstract

Human social learning is mediated not only by motor mimicries but also by declarative/linguistic information transmission. Focusing on declarative social learning, we reasoned that believability of secondhand information differs across the domain of information content (i.e., social domain vs. ecological domain). In particular, we predicted that people assess the veracity of secondhand information in the social domain more cautiously than that in the ecological domain because information in the social domain is often associated with manipulative incentives (e.g., resource competition with rivals). The present study employed a modified version of the Iowa Gambling Task, which was described as a problem of either social or ecological risk management. Also, participants were presented with an advice sheet purportedly provided by another participant. When the task was described as a social risk problem, participants were less likely to follow the advice than when the task was described as an ecological risk problem. This result implies that when participants had some contradictory firsthand information, which they acquired through performing the task themselves, they downplayed the secondhand information, which was presented as a form of advice, in the social domain more than in the ecological domain.

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Are costly apologies universally perceived as being sincere?

A test of the costly apology-perceived sincerity relationship in seven countries

Journal of Evolutionary Psychology
Authors: Yohsuke Ohtsubo, Esuka Watanabe, Jiyoon Kim, John T. Kulas, Hamdi Muluk, Gabriela Nazar, Feixue Wang, and Jingyu Zhang

Abstract

After inadvertently committing an interpersonal transgression, an offender might make an effortful apology (e.g. cancelling an important meeting to make an apology as soon as possible). Such costly apologies signal the apologiser's sincere intention to restore the endangered relationship. The present study investigated this costly signalling model of apology across seven countries (Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and the U.S.). Participants were asked to imagine that a friend had committed an interpersonal transgression against them and had then apologised in either a costly or non-costly fashion. The results showed that costly apologies were perceived to be significantly more sincere than no cost apologies in the all seven countries. We further investigated whether religious beliefs would moderate the effect of costly apologies. Consistent with our prediction and evolutionary hypothesis, costly apologies were perceived to be significantly more sincere than no cost apologies across religious groups (Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims).

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