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“How many bad apples does it take to spoil the whole barrel?”: Social exclusion and toleration for bad apples

Kerr, Norbert L., Rumble, Ann C., Park, Ernest S., Ouwerkerk, Jaap W., Parks, Craig D., Gallucci, Marcello, van Lange, Paul A. M. (2009) “How many bad apples does it take to spoil the whole barrel?”: Social exclusion and toleration for bad apples. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45 (4). pp. 603-613. ISSN 0022-1031. E-ISSN 1939-2222. (doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.02.017) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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In social dilemmas, where personal welfare is in con?ict with collective welfare, there are inherent incentives to act non-cooperatively. Moreover, there is evidence that the example of a few uncooperative group members ("bad apples”) is more in?uential than the example of comparable numbers of cooperative members (a bad apple effect). Two studies are reported that examine the functional relationship between the number of likely bad apples and individual cooperation, and whether and when the threat of social exclusion for uncooperative behavior may effectively counter the temptation to follow the example of such ‘‘bad apples”. It is shown that (a) the threat of exclusion is suf?cient to counter the temptation to follow a few bad apples’ example, (b) such threats cannot, however, overcome the cooperation degrading effects of large numbers (e.g., a majority) of bad apples, and (c) the effectiveness of such threats may be greater in relatively smaller groups.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.02.017
Uncontrolled keywords: cooperation, exclusion, ostracism, social dilemma
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Norbert L Kerr
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2014 21:23 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 12:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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