(Telegraph) Gossip ‘helps calm you down’
By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent 3:44PM GMT 18 Jan 2012
Gossip is healthy because it helps calm you down and is important in maintaining social order, a new study claims.
Idle chatter in the workplace or over a coffee is often viewed as a damaging habit which spreads salacious rumours and harms people’s reputations.
But new research suggests gossip could actually lower stress and help people overcome the frustration of seeing someone doing something wrong and getting away with it.
Psychologists from the University of California, Berkeley, found that volunteers’ heart rates rose when they observed someone misbehaving, but that this stopped when they were allowed to discuss what they had seen with others.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, focused on “prosocial” gossip which helps spread information about dishonest people rather than voyeuristic chatter about celebrities’ love lives, the researchers said.
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