None of us is as lazy as all of us: Social Intelligence and Loafing in Information Pools
Cheshire, Coye and Judd Antin. (2010). "None of us is as lazy as all of us: Social Intelligence and Loafing in Information Pools." Information, Communication & Society. Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.537-555.
In this paper we apply theory and research from sociology and social psychology to the problem of collective information sharing and exchange on the internet. We investigate the relationships between pre-existing dispositions to be cautious towards others, the propensity to exert more or less effort as a function of group affiliation, and contribution towards a collective goal. We find that individuals with average or lower levels of general caution are more likely to contribute to a collective pool of information, providing support for Yamagishi’s (2001) argument that less cautious individuals exhibit a type of social intelligence by engaging in risky but potentially rewarding social interactions. Consistent with the literature on social loafing, we find that abstract group affiliations have a negative effect on information sharing behavior. However, the effect of group affiliation is mediated by one’s level of general caution. We argue that pre-dispositions to engage in socially risky situations are a critical element of individuals’ decisions to contribute to online information sharing systems or not.