As social creatures, we are programmed to connect. And sometimes, gossip can provide us with a sense of togetherness that we all attract, regardless of whether the conversation is positive or negative. Some experts view gossip as evidence of cultural learning, in which we learn what is socially acceptable and what isn't. He also discovered that gossip can serve as a way to identify and ostracize unreliable members of the group.
But all hope has not been lost for those who are ostracized. Often, the person who was rejected actually learns from the experience and improves their behavior, according to the study. The mere threat of being excluded is an incentive for people to cooperate. 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. Torres's research has found that gossip can prevent loneliness, while other studies have found that it can facilitate bonding and closeness and serve as a form of entertainment. Not surprisingly, they felt happier when they heard positive gossip about themselves, and more annoyed when they heard negative gossip about themselves than to hear gossip about others.
That's the simple definition of gossip, according to the study authors, who talk about a person who isn't present. Whether or not you gossip responsibly depends on when you do it and who you share the information with, McAndrew says. So while it's true that people can spend a significant amount of time talking about their peers, often that talk is benign. For the experiment, participants looked at the face of someone they didn't know and then heard some gossip about them.
It also tends to be more associated with women, but the study found that this isn't necessarily the case: women tend to gossip more neutrally than men. Gossip has a negative reputation for being cruel or frivolous, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. And when your conversation turns to gossip, as will inevitably happen, remember that something good can come out with the right intentions, of course. Sometimes it's mundane everyday information, but when gossip includes elements of sexual relations or infidelity, known as juicy gossip, it can be particularly hurtful and harmful.
In addition, Feinberg's research has shown that gossip can promote cooperation by disseminating important information.