Vent with benefits
Do you gossip when you hang with friends—or are you a rare animal with the social mores of a saint and an iron will? Well, now those of us who can’t hold back from dishing the dirt no longer have to pretend we’ll ever stop. Researchers from the University of Pavia in Italy found that after gossiping, people’s level of the stress hormone cortisol dropped and their level of the love-and-bonding hormone oxytocin increased—a feel-good uptick that simply chatting didn’t spark. (Something we all knew in our gut.) It may be because gossiping serves a unique social purpose, the study authors say. “Gossip helps you process other people’s behavior and acts as a release valve to relieve the pressure from a stressful situation,” says lead researcher Natascia Brondino, M.D.