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The sky is falling: evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information

Bebbington, Keely; MacLeod, Colin; Ellison, T. Mark; Fay, Nicolas


The method of serial reproduction has revealed that the social transmission of information is characterized by the gradual transformation of the original message. This transformation results from the preferential survival of certain types of information and the resolution of ambiguity. Here we present evidence of a bias favoring the social transmission of negatively-valenced information across multiple transmission episodes. Ninety-two, four-person chains transmitted a story containing...[Show more]

CollectionsANU Research Publications
Date published: 2017
Type: Journal article
Source: Evolution and Human Behavior
DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.07.004
Access Rights: Open Access


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