People’s habit to gossip may be not only harmful, but also useful. This is the conclusion reached by American researchers from Dartmouth College, who found that gossip facilitates the processes of social interaction.
Gossip allows us to learn information indirectly, through the perception of other people – thus, it is a very complex form of communication, in which it is easy to get lost. The meaning of gossip can go far beyond the typically negative, writes Current Biology.
In order to simulate the effect that gossip produces in society, scientists conducted an experiment with volunteers, who were offered to play a special game. Some of the data about the game was hidden so that people would gain information by observing other participants. Plus, players were allowed to talk privately with one member of their group.
“The experiment showed that gossip is a very complex and multifaceted form of communication, through which different social functions are realized. With the help of gossip, people learn from other people’s experiences in cases where direct contact with the bearer of this experience is not possible. And it is very useful in some situations. In general, gossip can be seen as a tool for establishing communication and strengthening social ties,” says Ashin Jolly, one of the organizers of the study.