Psychologists Say Why Gossip Is Actually Good for You

Socrates once said: “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” But the fact is that few of us discuss ideas on a daily basis and instead talk about our relationships with others.

This is how we interact with friends, family, and close people. And surprisingly, this type of communication is an essential part of the evolution of language.

We wanted to debunk all the myths about gossip and find out if it really is an addiction or not. The results we got are really interesting and will probably get your friends talking.

Gossip Is An Important Part Of Language Evolution.

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Gossip may be one of the main reasons for the evolution of language. Language alone helps us communicate and teach with facts and skills, lets us know who we can trust, helps us build relationships, and facilitates all kinds of interactions. To find out all this information, gossip was (and is) the answer.

Living in a group, we needed bigger and better brains to retain all this information. In the past, our ancestors lived in much larger groups. Unlike apes, who kept their social relationships orderly, our human ancestors were more likely to develop gossip as a way to socialize more effectively.

Gossip Enables Social Bonds.

Gossip was an essential part of the communication that helped our ancestors survive. The researchers say that gossip is not necessarily negative but can be positive or neutral.

Our ancestors probably used gossip as a way to bond, just like we do now! Chatting is mostly about talking about other people and passing on social information, which in turn makes gossiping a way to build connections.

This gives us the ability to spread valuable information to very large social networks and maintain group functionality over time.

Gossip Is Proof Of Cultural Learning.

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Other researchers also claim that gossip is evidence of cultural learning. It offers teaching experiences and gives people examples of what is socially acceptable and what is not, which can be used as a tool to gauge the morality of a community.

If, for example, in a social circle it turns out that a person constantly cheats, the rest of the community will begin to make negative comments about this person. This can be used as a way to warn others about the consequences of cheating.

Gossiping Can Help You Calm Your Body In Stressful Situations.

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A 2012 study showed that there are psychological distinctions between passive and active involvement in gossip.

This study showed that when participants heard about another person’s anti-moral behavior or unfair situation, they experienced an increase in heart rate.

But when they were able to actively engage in gossip about the other person or situation, it put them at ease and lowered their heart rate. The conclusion of this study suggests that active gossip about stressful situations can help calm the body.

It Is Useful For Promote Positive Cooperation.

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There is a common saying that goes: “Your reputation precedes you”, and the origin of this probably stems from gossip that someone has spread about you. This, in turn, makes gossip useful for promoting cooperation among members of a community.

In a study conducted by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, results suggested that gossip helped identify those in a group who were behaving selfishly and promptly expelled them.

Through some group exercises, the participants were able to realize how much the participants contributed to mutual benefit and communicated with each other about who would be excluded for behaving selfishly.

What is your opinion on gossip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Preview photo credit Gossip Girl/17th Street Productions and co-producersGossip Girl/17th Street Productions and co-producers


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