Gossip is good - level 3
We all love a gossip. Even those who try their utmost not to tell tales, at some point in their lives, will find themselves having a good goss. Those who feel less guilty over talking about people behind their backs will be pleased to know that academics have now said it’s actually what sets our species apart.
Apparently, gossip is what makes people human, because it allows us to pass on vital information on who to trust and who not to trust. It also helps us bond with family and friends.
Professor Robin Dunbar at Oxford University has even said that far from feeling guilty about gossiping, we should accept it as a vital part of human life that might even help us to live longer. He has said the most important thing that will prevent you from dying is the size of your social network, and this has a bigger effect than anything, except giving up smoking.
Gossiping is only chatting with people and keeping up-to-date with the social world in which you live. So, gossip is what makes us human. The use of gossip in a negative sense, though, was not seen until the 18th century. It used to be what you did with your friends.
Academics carried out experiments to find out what people thought about gossips themselves. The results were that whilst people distrust those who gossip too much, they were also wary of those who gossip too little.
In evolutionary biology, the phenomenon is called the gossip theory, and it suggests that as language developed, it allowed early humans to pass on reliable information so that they could live in ever-increasing groups.
Difficult words: gossip (when you talk about someone who is not with you), to try your utmost (to try very hard), goss (short for “gossip”), academics (researchers and professors), vital (important), prevent (to keep from happening), phenomenon (an event), reliable (you can trust something).
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