American psychologists have come to the conclusion that gossip is a useful occupation. The spread of rumors, it turns out, protects from troubles and saves from stresses. However, it is important not to bend the stick and not harm anyone.
Gossiping about someone can actually have positive sides. This is the opinion of the American scientists, whose article recently appeared in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers assert that gossips perform an important social function, they are able to protect themselves from troubles, and also help to fight stress.
Researchers at the University of Berkeley conducted an experiment and the results proved useful properties of gossip. For example, they helped people avoid troubles. Scientists called such gossip prosocial gossip. In this case, the rumor that someone behaves treacherously warned against mistakes.
For the experiment, several volunteers were asked to participate in the game, while one of them was cheating. Other participants only watched the game, but they had the opportunity to inform the players that one of them was flogging. It was a clear matter, they could not stand up and openly declare a dishonest game, so they gossiped.
During the experiment, the researchers fixed the heart rate of observers. When the participants saw a dishonest game, the pulse became more frequent, they began to worry. When they transmitted a rumor about this to one of the players, the heart rhythm normalized.
"The gossip was filming negative emotions, they began to feel better," the observers came to the conclusion. The main reason for the gossip was the desire to help other players. They did not just want to admire how a rogue behaves badly. It shows altruism. Scientists emphasize that gossiping has several positive effects:
#1. It can help you let off steam (in small doses). When a person shares his exciting information, he immediately calms down, releasing everything that has boiled up. If you trust a person, you can gossip a little and overcome a stressful situation. However, you should be careful and not to become a real gossip girl.
#2. It can help you spot bigger red flags in a friendship. Sometimes, gossiping can help you find out who is your real friend.
#3. It can make your annoying friend a better person. Gossiping about your friend can lead to his better behavior, if you do not like it.
#4. It teaches you what not to do. Complaining about other people shows you what things are bad towards other people.
Not only women are gossiping. American professor of psychology Ralph Rosnou conducted such an experiment: he asked his students to write down on the recorder their conversations in a cafe. It turned out that while the girls were discussing people playing a more or less significant role in their lives - family members, close relatives, neighbors, men were gossiping about famous politicians, sportsmen and classmates from other groups whom they hardly knew.
Another study showed that, for example, Italians gossip on average five hours a day, and 38% of the time engaged in conversations, they discuss their colleagues at work, and do not talk about football and food, as it is commonly believed. Celebrities are the focus of attention in only 17% of spicy stories.
A survey conducted among UK residents showed that Englishmen, who have a reputation of primly people who protect their lives from extraneous views, actually like to gossip about their friends and colleagues. This was stated by 90% of the British.
Many psychologists point out that people who are unsure of themselves often say that they will find it difficult to succeed, for example, at work. Gossiping about a more successful colleague, such people increase their own self-esteem. Despite this, Professor of Psychology Jennifer Bosson in the University of Oklahoma says that joint exercises in wit, gently flowing into slander, help the interlocutors to imbue each other with sympathy.
In this case, gossip causes a lot of positive feelings, because they help the interlocutors feel closer, and define their enemies, which strengthens the self-esteem of the interlocutors. During the experiments, the participants were divided into two groups and were asked to describe their positive and negative responses about their friends, expressed in conversations face to face.
It turned out that in the memory of the people there were more negative, than positive memories of people. Finally, the participants were invited to listen to a conversation between two people discussing their impressions about someone else. The subjects were offered either to join the gossips, or to brand them with shame.
It turned out that more often people joined the gossip camp, rather than showed them their contempt. In passing, it was established that mutual hostility to the same personalities rallies interlocutors even more reliably than mutual sympathy for the same individuals.
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