Emotional Selection in Memes: The Case of Urban Legends

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Ivan Seeking
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We explore how much memes like urban legends succeed based on informational selection (i.e., truth or a moral lesson) and emotional selection (i.e., the ability to evoke emotions like anger, fear, or disgust). We focus on disgust because it is the least intuitive form of emotional selection and its elicitors have been precisely described. In Study 1, controlling for informational factors like truth, people were more willing to pass along stories that elicited stronger disgust. Study 2 randomly sampled legends and created versions that varied in disgust; people preferred to pass along versions that produced the highest level of disgust. In Study 3, we coded legends for individual story motifs that produce disgust (e.g., ingestion of a contaminated substance); legends that contained more disgust motifs were distributed more widely on urban legend web sites. We discuss implications of emotional selection for the social marketplace of ideas.[continued]
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/bec/papers/Heath_Emotional_Selection.pdf [Broken]
 
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Very interesting Ivan, thanx! :biggrin:
 
  • #3
Ivan Seeking
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You're welcome. :biggrin:


Funny, isn't it? We are all little boys at heart - the disgusting part anyway.
 
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Mud Shark

Frank Zappa
 

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