Psychologists have dispelled popular myths about gossip after analysing four thousand conversations.
Megan Robbins, assistant professor of the psychology department at the University of California, and Alexander Karan, a graduate student, studied the data from 467 people, 269 women and 198 men, aged from 18 to 58 years old. All of them carried portable sound recording devices with them for several days, and the devices recorded conversations during the day. 10% of conversations were recorded in random order, after which they were analysed by the staff of the department.
According to the emotional connotation, gossip was subdivided into:
On the subject of discussion, gossip was grouped in the following ranks:
According to Ozhegov’s classical Dictionary of the Russian Language, gossip is a rumour about something based on inaccurate or supposedly wrong information. In the leading English language dictionaries, gossip has another meaning: talking about the personal life of another person outside his/her presence. Researchers viewed gossip in this “English” sense.
Based on the results of the analysis, the researchers came to interesting conclusions:
As a result, it turned out that everyone gossips – and they gossip a lot. Even more, gossip is an integral part of communication. Gossipers are highly socialized; they easily make acquaintances and can join almost any conversation. And even more, researchers at the University of Michigan have generally found that gossip increases serotonin and endorphin levels, which have a beneficial effect on hormones. So, Godspeed for gossip!