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.
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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.
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.
Some gossiping has negative consequences for the target or the gossiper, such as if the target finds out, or if listeners conclude that the gossiper is an untrustworthy busybody who can't mind his or her own business.
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.
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.
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.