When should we trust someone’s reputation and when should we ignore it?

Functional theories of reputation imply that individuals’ reputations are tied to their history of behavior. However, indirect evidence suggests that the relation between reputation and behavior might be tenuous at best. In 3 studies, the authors tracked the development of reputations among individuals who engaged in multiple negotiation tasks across several weeks. The authors found that on average, individuals’ reputations were only mildly related to their history of behavior. However, the link between reputation and behavior was stronger for some individuals than others–specifically, for individuals who were more well-known and received more social attention in the community. In contrast, for less well-known individuals, their behavior had little impact on their reputation. The findings have implications for psychologists’ understanding of reputations, person perceptions in larger groups, and the costs and benefits of social visibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)
Source: “Are individuals’ reputations related to their history of behavior?” from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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