Dutch scientists conducted an unusual study, the purpose of which was to study the effect of gossip on the human body, and found that people not only tend to wash each other's bones, but, contrary to the stereotype, it is even useful.
It turns out that gossip gives a person almost as much pleasure as food and sex. A study titled "Why People Gossip" shows that 65 to 90 percent of adults' conversations are about a third person in their absence.
11% of respondents gossip every day, 15% - several times a week, 18% - once a week, 5% - several times a month. And 50% of the respondents assure that they do not gossip about people behind their backs at all or do it extremely rarely. Scientists have also established that gossip is especially characteristic of egoists who seek to manipulate other people and exert malicious influence on them.
Most of all, gossipers like to discuss colleagues (16%), neighbors (16%), relatives (15%), friends (14%), their bosses (11%). But people do not like to talk about their life partners (only 4%), writes Deutsche Welle.
Contrary to the stereotype, from time to time it is even beneficial to speak evil, says psychologist Ian Engelman, who studies gossip as a socio-psychological phenomenon at the University of California, Berkeley. "By gossiping, we can find out which of the interlocutors is our potential ally, and from whom it is better to stay away," says the psychologist.
In the course of evolution, the efforts of our distant ancestors were primarily aimed at belonging to a group, since it is always easier to survive in society: being able to protect yourself from external enemies, traitors and swindlers was a matter of life and death. And the advantage of spreading rumors is precisely that it is a means of transmitting important information, helps other people not to get into an unpleasant situation and not become a victim of intriguers, allows you to get to know the members of this social group better and determine who of them can be relied on and who is better. take into your circle.
This is especially evident in the example of young children: they warn their comrades, saying that someone is "greedy" and does not want to share toys, with whom it is fun and with whom it is boring to play. Gossip strengthens social bonds, provides an opportunity to establish close contact and support from others, and allows you to make friends and maintain friendships.
The study found that the reasons why people gossip can be very different. Although for most gossipers this is just an opportunity to communicate with other people, often washing the bones of an absent person at the moment is a means of psychological manipulation, the desire to change the perception or behavior of the interlocutors using covert, deceptive tactics.
Spreading bad rumors about a person can end up with his reputation being blackened and, perhaps, he may even become the target of bullying. Therefore, it is not surprising that the attitude towards gossip in society is usually negative. And the aversion in society for gossip feeds, first of all, the fear that we ourselves can be thrown behind our backs, the researchers note.