The Diffusion and Influence of Gratitude Expressions in Large-Scale Cooperation: A Field Experiment in Four Knowledge Networks

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Description: Theories on the emergence and maintenance of cooperation expect expressions of gratitude to confirm essential bonds of reciprocity. In large networks of cooperation and exchange, people contribute to common goods through upstream reciprocity. Scientific theories expect that expressions of gratitude are indirectly caused when people receive benefits from others and communicate back to the provider their feelings and sense of obligation. What if those expressions of gratitude also move forward, influencing further thanks and extended contributions to a community? We tested this hypothesis in a field experiment with Wikipedia communities in the Arabic, German, Polish, and Persian language editions.

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