There Is A Psychology To Why We Enjoy Gossip


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Rumor. Innuendo. Hearsay.
There are 50 shades of gossip but at the end of the day, it’s all the same: one person talking about another.
As our society has become more technologically advanced, so has gossip from social media to
In fact, Social Issues Research Center reports 55 percent of men’s conversation time and 67 percent of women’s conversation time is spent gossiping.

What is the psychology of gossip?

The notion of gossip is as old as man.
During the hunting and gathering days, the idea was as simple as identifying friend from foe. It’s for this reason Cleveland Clinic Staff Psychologist Dr. Joe Rock told Saludify that gossip in general can be positive.
“It’s funny, when I think about it initially, the connotations are all negative,” Rock said. “It connotes talking behind people’s backs, saying things about them that may or may not be true and have no decent purpose; however, as you look at some of the research and what people have thought about gossip, they’re saying theoretically it has some positive aspects to it.”
Socially, gossip is very risky. Psychologically, it has some benefits.
Author Richard Weiner, who will be releasing a book on gossip next year, tells Saludify that the definition of gossip varies.
“Most of the definitions of gossip simply call it idle talk and chitchat,” said Weiner. “It’s very important that you appreciate that gossip isn’t idle and not a waste of time, whether you think it’s harmful or beneficial. The definition I use is ‘a conversation between two people about a person who is not present, usually judgmental and generally traceable to an identifiable source.’”
“Gossip builds social bonds because shared dislikes create stronger bonds than shared positives. Two people who don’t know each other will feel closer if they share something mean about a third person than if they say nice things about them,” explains  social psychologist Laurent Bègue to Psychologies Magazine. “It’s a way of demonstrating their shared values and sense of humor. Add to that the thrill of transgression, since we’re supposed to be nice and positive.”
What are some of the positive aspects of gossip at a glance?
• Defines social group norms • Acts as a stress reducer • Boosts self-esteem • Binds friendships
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