X

Gossip Is Good for You

And it helps society, too, says a new study
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2012 4:06 PM CST

(Newser) – Dishing dirt behind someone's back is a beneficial activity, say scientists. Spreading gossip—defined as alerting others that a person has behaved badly—helps maintain social order and even lowers the stress of the gossiper, according to a new study out of UC Berkeley and reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Researchers set up experiments involving people cheating at games. Observers who witnessed the cheating experienced a spike in their heart rates, but when they sent "gossip notes" to others about the cheating, their heart rates dropped.

story continues below

"We tend to think of gossip as a bad thing and it gets a bad reputation, but if you were to remove it, that would be at the cost of social order," says the study's co-author. "Much of what we call gossip is driven by a sincere desire to help others. Gossip can make you feel better. You might even say it's therapeutic." (Read more scientific study stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X