Why do we gos­sip?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

NEW Cana­dian re­search has un­veiled some of the rea­sons men and women gos­sip and sug­gests that the ac­tiv­ity is ac­tu­ally good for us.

Adam Davis of the Uni­ver­sity of Ot­tawa in Canada, who car­ried out the re­search, posits that gos­sip­ing is ac­tu­ally a highly evolved so­cial skill, rather than a char­ac­ter flaw. Through gos­sip­ing, mem­bers of the op­po­site sex have an op­por­tu­nity to show off their de­sir­able char­ac­ter­is­tics to each other, also known as in­tra­sex­ual com­pe­ti­tion.

Davis’ new study is now the first to pro­vide ver­i­fi­able ev­i­dence for a pos­i­tive link be­tween in­tra­sex­ual com­pet­i­tive­ness, the amount of gos­sip that peo­ple take part in, and whether they be­lieve it is ok to gos­sip.

For the re­search, Davis and his team re­cruited 290 het­ero­sex­ual Cana­dian stu­dents be­tween the ages of 17 and 30 years old and asked them to com­plete three ques­tion­naires.

One ques­tion­naire mea­sured how com­pet­i­tive the par­tic­i­pants are to­wards other mem­bers of their own sex, es­pe­cially if they see them as a po­ten­tial com­peti­tor for a mate.

The other two ques­tion­naires mea­sured how likely peo­ple were to gos­sip about oth­ers and if they think gos­sip­ing is ac­cept­able.

The re­sults showed that those who were more com­pet­i­tive to­wards other mem­bers of their own sex were more likely to gos­sip, and more likely to think that gos­sip­ing about some­one be­hind their back was ok.

The team also found that women were more likely to gos­sip than men, en­joyed it more, and saw more so­cial value in par­tic­i­pat­ing in gos­sip, which would al­low them to gain more in­for­ma­tion about pos­si­ble com­peti­tors when find­ing a mate.

Women were also more likely to gos­sip about oth­ers’ phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance and share so­cial in­for­ma­tion, whereas men were more likely to gos­sip about the achieve­ments of oth­ers.

“The find­ings demon­strate that gos­sip is in­ti­mately linked to mate com­pe­ti­tion and not solely the prod­uct of a fe­male gen­der stereo­type that may be viewed as pe­jo­ra­tive,” states Davis, who be­lieves that ther­a­pists, coun­sel­lors, ed­u­ca­tors and the gen­eral pub­lic should re­think their stance about gos­sip.

“It is a highly evolved so­cial skill es­sen­tial for in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships, rather than a flaw of char­ac­ter.” – AFP Re­laxnews

‘My goal is to help some­one find some­thing that makes them feel beau­ti­ful,’ says Sil­ver, founder of the cel­e­brated vin­tage store Decades in Los An­ge­les. — Pho­tos: TNS

Gos­sip is a so­cial skill es­sen­tial for in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships, a study finds. — Hand­out

Vin­tage hand­bags and other ac­ces­sories from Sil­ver’s col­lec­tion.

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