Yoder, Christian N., and Scott A. Reid. 2019. “The Quality of Online Knowledge Sharing Signals General Intelligence.” Personality and Individual Differences 148 (October): 90–94.
Some people share knowledge online, often without tangible compensation. Who does this, when, and why? According to costly signaling theory people use behavioral displays to provide observers with useful information about traits or states in exchange for fitness benefits. We tested whether individuals higher in general intelligence, g, provided better quality contributions to an information pool under high than low identifiability, and whether observers could infer signaler g from contribution quality. Using a putative online wiki (N = 98) we found that as individuals’ scores on Ravens Progressive Matrices (RPM) increased, participants were judged to have written better quality articles, but only when identifiable and not when anonymous. Further, the effect of RPM scores on inferred intelligence was mediated by article quality, but only when signalers were identifiable. Consistent with costly signaling theory, signalers are extrinsically motivated and observers act as “naive psychometricians.” We discuss the implications for understanding online information pools and altruism.
Humans don’t work for free.
Gold. USD. Online reputation. There needs to at least be something, because otherwise there will be nothing.
If I understand this right, this suggests that truly genuine altruism doesn’t really increase with intelligence after correcting for identifiability. That makes sense. The authors also point out that altruism is less costly for more intelligent individuals, since they are more easily able to recoup the costs of non-compensated altruism.