Keeping Us Safe

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.

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Self Improvement

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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.

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.

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.

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RELATED IDEAS

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 the typical person spends about 52 minutes per day gossiping. But most of it is just sharing information about the people in their lives with those around them.

A Psychologist Explains Why People Gossip-and the Reason Might Surprise You

health.com

The broader view of gossip

All humans partake in gossip in some form. Everyone talks about other people. One study found that male participants spent 55% of conversation time and female participants 67% conversation time on socially relevant topics.

People like to think of gossip as the same as malicious rumours, but researchers define gossip as talking about people who aren't present.

The Science Behind Why People Gossip

time.com

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 fundamental to know who was reliable, trustworthy, a cheater, a good mate and so on. To that end, an intense interest in the private dealings of others was beneficial and favored by natural selection.

Gossip Is a Social Skill, Not a Character Flaw

psychologytoday.com

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