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Social capital across urban neighborhoods: A comparison of self-report and observational data

Lookup NU author(s): Jessica Hill, Dr Ruth Jobling, Thomas Pollet, Professor Daniel Nettle


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© 2014 American Psychological Association.Previous self-report survey research has demonstrated significant variation in social trust and neighborhood social ties between two neighborhoods of contrasting socioeconomic fortunes within the same English city. Residents in a deprived neighborhood reported that they trusted their neighbors less and had fewer social ties within the neighborhood than residents in an affluent neighborhood. We carried out direct behavioral observations in these neighborhoods to determine whether this difference was apparent in behavior on the streets. We found that people were less likely to be alone and adults were more likely to engage in social interactions with other adults in the deprived neighborhood than in the affluent neighborhood, indicating a more active social life. We argue that self-reports about social interactions are not simple objective descriptions of those interactions, but involve adding interpretation and meaning to them. We highlight the importance of observational data for exploring cultural differences within and between societies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hill JM, Jobling R, Pollet TV, Nettle D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences

Year: 2014

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Pages: 59-69

Print publication date: 01/04/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 2330-2925

ISSN (electronic): 2330-2933

Publisher: American Psychological Association Inc.


DOI: 10.1037/h0099131


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