Feinberg, M., Willer, R., & Schultz, M. (2014). Gossip and ostracism promote cooperation in groups. Psychological Science, 25(3), 656-665. doi:10.1177/0956797613510184
This study examined how gossip promotes cooperation among groups while preventing exploitation of ostracized individuals. The excluded individuals, in turn, respond by cooperating at levels comparable to those of non-ostracized individuals. The study suggests that gossip promotes prosocial behavior due to reputation saliency.