Is gossip positive or negative?

Gossip is usually neutral, but negative gossip is twice as common as positive gossip. Most gossip is about someone the person knows. Socioeconomic and educational status doesn't dictate how much a person gossips. The data showed that almost all of the study participants gossiped (only 34 of the 467 didn't gossip at all).

Most gossip was not coded as positive or negative; most gossip recorded in this study (75 percent) was neutral. Women engaged in more neutral gossip than men, but the amount of negative and positive gossip shared among men and among women was fairly constant. And in general, people who were more extroverted tended to gossip more than those who were more introverted. Positive gossip, about people doing something well, had a “self-improvement value” for participants, as an example of how they could do it better themselves.

In fact, negative gossip made people feel better about themselves, but it also made them more afraid that they might gossip about them, too. After all, hearing negative gossip meant that they were in an environment where people were gossiping negatively about one another. Gossip is informal when it comes to colleagues. From the perspective of social networks, we argue that group boundaries and social status in the informal work network determine who are the objects of positive and negative gossip.

Gossip networks were collected among 36 employees of a public child care organization and analyzed using exponential random graph (ERGM) modeling. As has been hypothesized, both positive and negative gossip focus on colleagues in the gossipy's own working group. Negative gossip is relatively specific, and the objects are specific people, particularly those with a low informal level. Positive gossip, on the other hand, is more evenly distributed across the network.

The new study, conducted by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, found that positive and negative gossip about the achievements of others helped people assess their own success and social status. And since negative stories tend to stick better in the mind than positive ones, it makes sense that gossip about people who broke the rules is more instructive than gossip about people who are very good at the rules. But when they were allowed to gossip, passing a note saying that the cheater could not be trusted, they calmed down, suggesting that gossiping may be a physiological relief. While gossip is a behavior that has long been frowned upon, perhaps no one has seen it as intensely as the British of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Instead of simply humiliating people and making them cry in the bathroom, scientists now consider gossip to be a way of learning about cultural norms, establishing ties with others, promoting cooperation and even, as a recent study found, allowing people to assess their own success and social position. In fact, in both studies, people tended to cooperate more when they knew that their behavior could be the subject of gossip, so even the threat of gossip was enough to get people to follow the line. Back then, gossip or “scolding” were sometimes forced to wear a threatening iron cage on their heads, called a “bifurcation” or “scold bridle”. However, a study published in late October in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin posits that people also see benefits from gossip.

In fact, research has shown that a lot of gossip has both positive effects and moral motivations, explains Robb Willer, professor of Sociology and director of the Laboratory for Polarization and Social Change at Stanford University, which studies the social forces that unite us and push us against each other, including gossip. Experiments conducted by his team suggest that the threat of receiving gossip deters unreliable behavior; once people are gossiped for behaving unreliably, they tend to reform their behavior; and gossip helps people know who to avoid and who not to trust. .

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