Gossip has a bad reputation, labeled as a disgraced behavior that almost no one prefers to do. In fact, a lot of gossip “I don’t like to Gossip… it begins with an introductory sentence in the form”. Of course, it is not pleasant to talk about them behind people’s backs, and there are also more efficient ways to spend time more qualified, but this does not mean that gossip has no social value. We can even say that gossip has a fundamental function in the survival of our species.
Gossip is an integral part of our communication. Moreover, almost a large part of human communication is gossip; in the remaining time we talk about topics such as sports, music, politics, weather. But most of our time is spent discussing other people’s work, and some of these issues are not fully brought to light.
How Does Gossip Affect Our Brains?
The fact that gossip is a sustained behavior provides a hint that certain areas of our brain enjoy it.junkies are a good idea. But interestingly, our brains don’t respond to every rumor in the same way. Different types of gossip reveal a different braid of the brain. A study published in Social Neuroscience in 2015 found that male and female participants enjoyed listening to gossip with positive news compared to negative gossip. But, no surprise, people were found to be more annoyed by negative gossip about themselves than other people, such as friends, acquaintances and celebrities.
In the study, participants were also asked to listen to positive and negative rumors about themselves, their best friends, and famous people, while brain scans were performed with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The resulting scan images revealed that high activity was observed in the upper medial prefrontal cortex of the brain while listening to gossip about one’s own. This region also showed activism when listening to negative gossip about other people. On the other hand, when a person listens to positive rumors about himself, he or she reacts in a way that shows an increase in activity in the orbitoprefrontal cortex.
So what do all these regions mean cognitively? The Prefrontal cortex is one of the brain regions responsible for social cognition and managerial control of our brain. Social cognition is the ability to regulate our thoughts, behaviors, and actions based on the real, imagined, or presumed existence of other people. In other words, social cognition is a trait that makes us want to adhere to the accepted norms and rules of society. Managerial control is the ability to channel our thought patterns, behaviors, and actions according to internal goals. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter involved in regulating the functionality of this region and activating the reward system.
The activation of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain in response to positive gossip about itself indicates that most people want to be seen as being in line with standards of social morality and achievement. Individuals feel more rewarded when they are “seen” by the environment in a positive light than when they stick to their inner moral compass.
In addition, fMRI scans show that we react to negative gossip about others as an increase in activity in the upper medial prefrontal cortex of our brain, while we are not happy with other people’s discredited stories. This fact is often rejected from the point of view of many people. After all, we don’t like to think of ourselves as monsters who brag about the pain and misfortune of others.
Although it may seem like a disorder to moral solids, science shows that Gossip serves the purposes of self-preservation. Research also reveals that gossip has absolute social benefits.
Gossip is essentially an exchange of information and a great tool for observational learning. From the point of view of the social sciences, we can say that negative gossip allows you to recognize how society perceives acts of moral violation, and indirectly serves as a lesson in how to live in a community and how to follow its rules. In this case, negative gossip acts as a tool for indirect learning. In this way, you learn how to act correctly without having to suffer the costs and consequences of a negative action without taking that action.
In another respect, Gossip offers the individual a means of self-improvement. Positive gossip about ourselves gives us the motivation to maintain our good behavior or positive habits. It also provides us with clues about acceptable behavioural traits in the context of a particular society.
Some research underscores the benefits of prosocial gossip. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2012 found that exchanging negative information about another person’s reputation would alarm vulnerable people and protect them from future acts of anti-social or abuse. According to research, prosocial gossip promotes collaboration and commitment among people and creates a safety net.
On another level, sharing knowledge of one’s negative traits also controls people’s anti-social behavioral traits. In a study published in Psychological Science in 2014, when negative reputation information is shared with many people, the group often chooses to exclude the one who did wrong. Exclusion forces the person excluded from their group to resort to better behavior to win approval again. Exclusion can also be a deterrent to the anti-social behaviour of others.
Negative gossip also strengthens social bonds, research suggests. According to research published in Personal relationships in 2006, negative gossip with another person often triggers conversations that involve downward social comparisons. These conversations are important ego boosters. Moreover, by sharing negative information about another person, we unwittingly create different social identities. A person brings the person he is gossiping to his environment, and creates an in-Group and out-group environment, while the person who is gossiping is left out.
In light of all these assessments, we can say that gossip is not a completely wasted search for time and energy. Our brains enjoy exchanging interesting information about what we know closely (our best friends) or what we can only observe from afar (celebrities). On the bright side, we can also say that gossip about ourselves is like a mirror of our actions and behavior, and allows us to correct ourselves, so that we can become responsible people of society.