Gossip is Good

Gossiping often gets a bad rap, but it may actually be good for you and the people around you.

The dictionary calls gossip idle talk or rumors, especially about personal or private affairs of others. Parents, teachers and bosses tend to frown upon gossip, but a new study finds that this type of chatting may provide some benefits.

Researchers arranged for volunteers to watch someone behaving badly. The bystander’s heart rate went up when they saw this misbehavior. However, their heart rate didn’t rise as high when they were able to tell others what they saw.

The urge to gossip can be strong. Participants were even willing to give up money in order to send a note to other people who were about to play in a game against a cheater. According to the researchers, people who look out for others are more likely to share this kind of gossip even if it costs them.

Gossip that can help other people can prevent selfishness and encourage cooperation. As a result, they say we shouldn’t feel guilty about gossiping about people’s misdeeds, especially if these alerts keep others from being harmed.

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