A coworker took all the credit for a project you both worked on in a meeting with your boss. McAndrew, Ph. In order to survive and pass along your genes it has pretty much always been necessary to know about the lives of those around you: who had powerful friends, who was sleeping with whom, who had limited resources, and who might stab you in the back when times got tough. That knowledge helped people get ahead socially; and people who were not interested in it were at a disadvantage, McAndrew says. It's not inherently bad; and plays an important role in keeping our society connected.
In addition, the results "showed that negative gossip elicited self-protection concerns," the researchers write. Those who know they have been gossiped about at work, for example, experience less physical and psychological Tracy schilffarth. Negative gossiping might require a degree of secrecy i. In a study published in Social Neuroscience, scientists looked at brain imaging of men and women as they heard positive and negative gossip about themselves, their best friends and celebrities. The assistants further coded the gossip depending on whether it was about a celebrity or acquaintance; the topic; and the gender of the Gossips about scientists partner. This is a trait that makes some want to conform to the norms and rules of society in which we live. Finding sister naked Up Now. Unsurprisingly, people do not like when they find that they are being gossiped about, and hence there is a moral stigma Gossips about scientists to the people who are gossiping too much. One implication is that groups traditionally shut out of power and influence may find empowerment through their own channels and interpretations of the truth.
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A new UC Riverside study asserts that women don't engage in "tear-down" gossip any more than men, and lower income people don't gossip more than their more well-to-do counterparts.
- While gossiping is a behavior that has long been frowned upon, perhaps no one has frowned quite so intensely as the 16th- and 17th-century British.
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- The gene, Rap1, has been associated with metabolism, weight gain, and overeating in previous studies.
Jenny Cole does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Gossip gets a bad rap.
If we follow some simple steps we can take part in gossip without it ending in tears. But we can use gossip to learn about the rules of behaviour in social groups and get closer to each other. It helps us do this by letting us learn important information without the need to actually talk to every group member.
So gossiping is efficient and those who gossip can use this social currency to gain positions of power. But being a gossip also has a dark side. Gossips are generally viewed as unlikeable, untrustworthy and weak. Even children as young as nine regard those who spread information about other people as less likeable and less deserving of rewards.
There is also evidence that gossiping may make us feel bad about ourselves , regardless of whether what we have said is nasty or nice. And, of course, there are the consequences for the person you have gossiped about, who may suffer psychologically if they find out they were the target of gossip. Although the research on the group benefits of gossip suggests we need to keep gossiping, we need to do so with the potential negative effects in mind.
So how do we keep gossiping without creating a toxic social atmosphere? There are clear negative consequences if you learn that you have been the target of gossip. Those who know they have been gossiped about at work, for example, experience less physical and psychological well-being. When we learn about social rules through gossip, we are learning about what rules we should follow, but also about what actions we should avoid if we want to be a valued member of our group.
The advantage of learning about group transgressions in this way is that we do not have to have an awkward confrontation with the person who has transgressed. If we want gossip to oil the wheels of social interaction, but not cause conflict and upset, we need to be discrete.
Although there is plenty of evidence that we dislike those who gossip frequently, this depends on the perceived motive of the gossiper. If the listener feels that you are attempting to help the group when you share the gossip, they can be much more forgiving. For example, in a study where a gossiper shared information about a cheating student , they were only disliked where they were sharing this information for selfish reasons.
Where they expressed the gossip in a way which focused on fairness for the whole student group, it was the cheater who was disliked, not the gossiper.
Ensuring that gossip is useful can also help to alleviate the negative feelings gossipers have when they share gossip. In a study where a participant saw another person cheating , it made the participant uncomfortable knowing about the cheat.
Gossip which is not true does not offer the same social learning benefits as that which is true. False gossip risks conflict and upset to the target of gossip but this action is not justified by benefits to the group, so the gossiper may feel worse about spreading information they know to be false that they usually would when communicating gossip.
People can employ sophisticated strategies — including comparing the information they gain to existing knowledge — to protect themselves from being influenced by malicious gossip. Effective gossip is not just about what you say, or about whom.
It is also about how you say it. Of course, you can make the benefits of the gossip clear to your listener by clearly explaining why you have shared the information. But sharing particularly emotional reactions to the information may help you to connect with your listener and avoid negative reactions. When we share emotional reactions to others with someone, they feel closer to us , especially when they agree with the reaction we share.
Sharing how you feel may encourage the listener to react more favourably to your gossiping behaviour. And do not be afraid to share your emotions with your listener. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Jenny Cole , Manchester Metropolitan University. Office gossip. Keep it secret There are clear negative consequences if you learn that you have been the target of gossip. Make it useful Although there is plenty of evidence that we dislike those who gossip frequently, this depends on the perceived motive of the gossiper.
Do not tell lies Gossip which is not true does not offer the same social learning benefits as that which is true. Connect with your listener Effective gossip is not just about what you say, or about whom. Child development office bullying Social psychology Social skills Social status.
What are the consequences? If you need an example, head to your local high school, hide yourself in one of the cafeteria trashcans, cover yourself with garbage, and eavesdrop for the duration of lunch hour. But, in comparison, the mice that lacked Rap 1 had markedly reduced body weight and less body fat. Send Feedback. Metacritic Reviews.
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Sign in. Forgot Password Registration. What do you think about this particular story? Your message to the editors. Without water, life, at least as we know it, is impossible.
And yet, Mars is hanging on. On Earth, life got its start in stable bodies of water, and the same could be true on Mars. Until now, however, standing water had not been spotted on Mars. In Greenland and Antarctica, geologists have discovered lakes beneath surface ice sheets, kept liquid by the pressure of the ice and by salts and other minerals, which lower the melting point of water, preventing it from freezing.
Over the course of three and a half years, from May to December , the team conducted 29 soundings as the spacecraft swung by the targeted region in the course of its orbits of Mars. What they were looking for were slight differences in the two-way travel time of the radar pulses as they were beamed to the surface and bounced back to the spacecraft.
That can reveal the density and make-up of whatever type of surface or subsurface material the radar pulses struck.
On each pass, the spacecraft sampled a slightly different patch of ground, producing a series of radar footprints that overlapped in varying degrees. Consistently, a single Ultimately, Mars may well turn out to be an entirely dead world.
But for now, the question remains very much an open one—and thanks to the new study, researchers now have more places than ever to look for a hint of a Martian pulse. The original version of this story misstated the potential freezing temperature of ocean saltwater on Earth. Amazing advances in science As you bow your head in gratitude, secretly hoping every aunt and uncle.
Why we gossip, according to science
People tend to think of gossip as synonymous with malicious rumors, put-downs or the breathless propagation of a tabloid scoop. In a meta-analysis published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science , Robbins and a colleague found that, of the 52 minutes a day on average the subjects spent gossiping, three-quarters of that gossip was actually neutral.
One subject for example, spoke about someone who was watching a lot of movies to stay current. So while it is true that people can spend a significant amount of time talking about their peers, oftentimes that chatter is benign. Some researchers argue that gossip helped our ancestors survive. Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar first pioneered this idea, comparing gossip to the grooming primates engage in as a means of bonding.
In a study published in Social Neuroscience, scientists looked at brain imaging of men and women as they heard positive and negative gossip about themselves, their best friends and celebrities. People hearing gossip — good and bad — about themselves, as well as negative gossip in general, showed more activity in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, which is key to our ability to navigate complex social behaviors.
This activity indicated the subjects responded to the gossip and its insight. The study also found that the caudate nucleus, a reward center in the brain, was activated in response to negative gossip about celebrities; subjects seemed to be amused or entertained by salacious celebrity scandals. The researchers also polled how the subjects felt , in addition to studying what their brain images revealed. Not surprisingly, they were happier to hear positive gossip about themselves , and more irked by hearing negative gossip about themselves as opposed to hearing gossip about others.
When they were able to actively gossip about the person, or the situation, on the other hand, it soothed them and brought their heart rates down. In the study, participants were divided into subgroups, and then each person was given a number of points representing small sums of money. Each participant could contribute these points to their group — in which case, the points would be doubled and redistributed equally — or keep them for themselves.
Crucially, they could inform their new groups how much someone had contributed in earlier exercises, and could vote to exclude someone who had behaved selfishly from a round entirely. Having eliminated those bad apples, remaining participants were then able to work more harmoniously and inflate their collective pot. Individuals who had given less than half their points initially increased their contributions by the end of the latter rounds, while those who had been excluded gave significantly more after they were allowed back into the game, conforming to the less selfish behavior.
Gossiping also says something about the relationships people have with each other. So, keep on talking. And when your conversation turns to gossip, as it inevitably will, remember that some good can come of it — with the right intentions, of course.
The original version of this story misstated the methodology of research published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science in It is a meta-analysis of gossip as a behavior, not a study. Contact us at editors time.
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