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Does Gossip Have An Evolutionary Purpose?

Policing Behavior

Gossiping is a good way of identifying friends and foes. We are either judge, jury or executioner when we gossip — and we use the information we cull to keep immoral influences at arm's length.

Research indicates that people who witnessed immoral behavior feel better after gossiping about it to people who might have been affected. They are helping to spread the news, and therefore raise the possibility that the person in question is punished.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Does Gossip Have An Evolutionary Purpose?

Does Gossip Have An Evolutionary Purpose?

https://www.bustle.com/articles/86246-why-do-we-gossip-5-theories-about-why-we-cant-stop-talking-behind-each-others-backs

bustle.com

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Key Ideas

Policing Behavior

Gossiping is a good way of identifying friends and foes. We are either judge, jury or executioner when we gossip — and we use the information we cull to keep immoral influences at arm's length.

Research indicates that people who witnessed immoral behavior feel better after gossiping about it to people who might have been affected. They are helping to spread the news, and therefore raise the possibility that the person in question is punished.

Keeping Us Safe

We ensure our well-being by exchanging information about the world around us (and the potential dangers it contains) with as many people as possible.

Building Social Bonds

Gossip is a key social skill that helps ensure our healthy integration into human society. 

Gossiping with somebody is a way of bringing people closer within your social group, checking that they share your views, and bonding over shared positions and judgements. The people you gossip most with, therefore, are the ones with whom you're the closest.

Social Hierarchies

Spreading rumors about a close friend doesn’t bring you closer but it leads you up the social ladder by taking somebody else down. Gossip can be greatly detrimental, but it also allows nonphysical competition and displays of power.

Our Urge To Tell Stories

Gossip on celebrities is largely constructed of narratives, with arcs and patterns — the swift rise, the first fall, the redemption. According to this theory, we love gossip because it ties into our human innate fascination with storytelling.

Stories often have a moral component that provides us with patterns of behavior, develop and expand our attention, bond an audience, and let us play. Storytelling is also a good way to attract mates.

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Gossiping

It is talking about a person who isn’t present. It's not necessarily about spreading malicious rumors or embarrassing stories, just sharing information.

Research indicates that ...

Gossip as a Tool

Gossiping is a fundamental human instinct because our lives are deeply rooted in groups and we depend on the people in our groups to survive.

We need to have as much information as possible about the people around us in order to accurately determine expectations, trustworthiness, viewpoints, and so on.

The Benefits Of Gossip

Gossip doesn’t only teach us about the person who’s the subject of the conversation, but also about the gossiper. When you gossip you tell others things about your attitudes, beliefs, and ways of dealing with people by seeing who and what you gossip about.

When you do join in, gossip can also strengthen your social bonds. It improves a group's cooperation and makes members less selfish, as well as a way of identifying and ostracizing untrustworthy individuals until they learn the lesson.

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The Negatives Of Gossiping

If you gossip negative things, like insulting someone or talking down their achievements, it may put both you and the person you are talking to at risk of losing the group’s trust and eac...

It's Not All Bad

Spontaneous trait transference works with positive talk. If you're discussing someone and you describe them as kind and generous, people are more likely to see you that way too.

Small talk and gossip help us build and analyze the relationships we have with other people, as well as work out each other's social standings and traits.

We’re Wired To Gossip

People's names trigger the brain in a unique way so you can recall information about them. Gossip works as training for the information gathering capacities of the brain.

Research also found that people were much better at processing information about people they had just met if they had large social groups. By talking with and about people more often, they were using those parts of their brains regularly.

Delusional beliefs and madness
Delusional beliefs and madness
  • People with psychosis may believe the neighbours are poisoning them; they could believe colleagues have hired someone to kill them.
  • Psychiatrists define beliefs as delusion...
Delusional concerns tied to our social world

The focus on irrationality is missing the point. To label delusions as irrational means that all 'normal' cognition is rational, which is not true as our beliefs are disproportionately influenced by multiple factors.

A new theory suggests that we form delusions to help us understand and survive in our social environment. These processes allow us to live and cooperate with people by understanding their intentions.

Why people form delusional beliefs

Beliefs are formed in the first place to enable us to survive in our social environment, to cooperate with each other, and mutually reflect and solve problems. However, beliefs differ across social groups. For example, beliefs about the risk levels of specific activities during the pandemic vary greatly, such as the wearing of masks.

When we consider the social role of beliefs, we can better understand how delusions take shape. A person that has been repeatedly threatened may be wary of people in the future, even if it seems irrational.

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We’re Hardwired To Gossip

Our prehistoric ancestors lived in small intimate groups. To survive they needed to cooperate with in-group members while also competing for mates and limited resources.

It was fundame...

Social Isolation

Sharing secrets is one way people bond, so avoiding gossip may lead to social isolation. Someone skillful at gossip can be socially informed and have a good rapport with others. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t gossip may become an outsider, neither trusted nor accepted by the group. 

Gossip also helps to integrate newcomers into groups by exposing group norms and values.

Fear Of Whispers Keeps Us In Check

The awareness that others are likely talking about us can keep us in line. Among a group of friends or coworkers, the threat of becoming the target of gossip can deter “free-riders” and cheaters.

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Finding your purpose

Many seem to think that purpose comes from your unique gifts and sets you apart from other people. That is only partly true.

Meaningful goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can ...

Read

Reading connects us to people across time and space.

  • Research shows that those who read the Bible more tended to have a stronger sense of purpose.
  • Reading fiction also seems to make a difference. By seeing purpose in the lives of other people, we are more likely to see it in our own.
Find purpose in suffering

Finding purpose is not just an intellectual pursuit, it is something we need to feel. That's why purpose can grow out of suffering.

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The Bad Reputation

Generally, gossiping has a bad reputation. It is called the faceless demon that breaks hearts and ruins careers. It is also termed as the three-pronged tongue that kills the teller, listener, and t...

Facts About Gossip

Gossip is malicious only 3 to 4 percent of times and seems to bring people together, as when two people talk about a third one, having a common 'adversary' creates a bond between them.

The Good Side of Gossiping

Gossip can make us better people, according to some researchers.

  • Positive gossip inspires people while negative gossip makes people proud of themselves.
  • People learn about themselves through the grapevine.
  • Many people decide to reform themselves because of the gossip they have heard.

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Humour in philosophy
Humour in philosophy
  • Henri Bergson, a Fresh philosopher of the late 19th century, was also an author of a famous essay that focused on laughter. Before Bergson, few philosophers had given laughter much t...
Humour and respect

Everyone who ever had to explain their own joke knows that comedy cannot survive analysis. Once you take humour apart, it loses its effect and dies in the process.

Henri Bergson published his essay on laughter in 1900. He believed that laughter should be studied as 'a living thing' and treated with 'the respect due to life.'

Conditions for laughter to thrive

Henri Bergson's general observations related to when laughter is most likely to appear and thrive:

  • The comic is strictly human. When laughter is directed at non-humans, we may laugh, but only because we have detected some human attitude or expression.
  • Laughter has no greater foe than emotion. Emotional states like pity, melancholy, rage, etc. make it difficult for us to find humour in the things we might otherwise have laughed at. But humour also appears to serve as a coping mechanism in the face of tragedy or misfortune.
  • Laughter seems to require an echo. It is used in the context of social bonding.

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Thomas Hobbes explained

Hobbes, an English philosopher, believes mankind's nature to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short as described in his book, The Leviathan.

This is why people adhere to social c...

Moral issues

The 'Show, don't tell' rule is especially pertinent when it comes to immoral acts.

Until a book becomes moving pictures, any moral issue with it doesn't seem to reach national press levels, because it shows these contentious issues to a wider audience.  If you show the act, but don't tell anyone what to think about it, the fact that an author or film-maker hasn't clanged down a big sign saying 'And this is bad' is tantamount to advocation. 

GoT's similarities with the Leviathan

A Song of Ice and Fire might very well deliberately echo Leviathan. The notion that, without protection from the Iron Throne, the land falls into an every-man-for-himself struggle does echo the ideas laid down in Leviathan. 

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Social norms

People tend to conform to behaviors that are common among other people, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not mirror their own desi...

Common reasons for conforming
  • One common explanation: we that if everyone else is choosing to do one thing, it is probably a good thing to do.
  • Another common explanation: we fear that failing to follow a norm may have negative social consequences.
The self-categorization theory

The idea of the self-categorization theory is that people conform to the norms of certain social groups whenever they have a personal desire to feel like they belong.

It is irrelevant whether a norm reflects people's preference, as long as the behavior is associated with the group.

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One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.
Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so.