Gossip is like a drug. We all seem to understand its negative consequences yet the impulse to spread spicy news can at times feel unconquerable. No one likes being gossiped about but almost everyone likes to gossip.
Despite the negative stigma associated with the practice, a new study published this month in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin may offer some solace to chronic rumormongers. After conducting two experiments (one critical, the other experiential), a team of researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands determined that receiving gossip has self-evaluative benefits. A person who hears positive gossip about another person feels motivated by the news to seek self-improvement. Negative gossip, on the other hand, will makes receivers feel more self-conscious while also boosting their sense of pride.
The study's authors decided that gossip is important as a tool for introspection. Hearing stories about other people provides an opportunity for individuals to assess their own qualities and decisions. These assessments in turn result in personal growth and higher self-esteem. This isn't to say that you should immediately run over to the pub or hair salon in order to spread some dirt about your friends, but perhaps we can all feel a little less guilty about dabbling in a little juicy information from time to time.
Read more at The New Age
And read the study here.