Whether they like to admit it or not, most people are interested in gossip about other people’s achievements and failures.
And while gossip is often seen as negative, a new study has found that listening to gossip may help us adapt to a social environment, help us improve, or reveal potential threats.
Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands conducted two studies to examine the effects of positive and negative gossip on the person hearing the gossip.
The first study asked participants to recall an incident where they received either positive or negative gossip about another individual.
The participants were then asked questions to measure the self-improvement, self-promotion, and self-protection value of the gossip.
The researchers found that individuals who heard positive gossip had increased self-improvement value, while negative gossip increased self-promotion value. Negative gossip also increased self-protection concerns, according to the study’s findings.