According to research, anxious people are more likely to spread rumors and participate in gossip. And because uncertainty or a feeling of being out of control are important in anxiety, gossip can cause someone to regain that sense of control. Feeling part of the group. On a deeper level, the basic underlying psychological need to gossip is the need to eliminate uncertainty.
People don't feel good when they think they don't have enough information. So they try to restore cognitive balance. In other words, the good side of gossip can bring people together. The dark side of gossip can isolate people with knife-like precision.
But the psychological reason why we get involved is to reinforce our own cultural values, which, to a large extent, end up being neutral. People also like to gossip because it gives them the feeling that they have secret information about another person, giving them a sense of power. The researchers listened to the sound files of all of those conversations and anything they classified as gossip (any talk about other people who weren't part of the conversation) was coded as positive, negative, or neutral on a standardized scale. People who heard positive or negative gossip about themselves showed more activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex, which helps people manage complex social behaviors.
A less benign form of gossip is when people talk about information about celebrities or other prominent people in tabloids or social media. As expected, the study showed that people felt happier when they heard positive gossip about themselves and felt more agitated when they heard negative gossip about themselves. 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. As a rule, people associate the concept of gossip with unnecessary and irrelevant information.
Talking about other people gives a person a sense of relief because they are not experiencing the same calamities. People who like to gossip don't just live in small towns and aren't the stereotypical housewives who share gossip in the side yard. Gossip is rewarded, so people will continue to gossip as long as they don't hear anything negative about themselves. Not only do they divulge other people's secrets, but they also tend to add a bit of drama to the story.
Soon, it's easy for everyone involved in the gossip and sources of the gossip to forget that none of the exchanges show a complete picture of what the person is going through. Gossip differs from the human tendency to talk about other people in that gossip tends to focus on negative information to degrade the target. A good gossiper is someone to whom people trust information and someone who uses that information in a responsible manner. What the researchers found is that participants focused for a longer time on the faces of people who did bad things, but not on those to whom bad things simply happened.