Sometimes when you hear a juicy little piece of news about a friend or a coworker you want to keep it locked up so that you don’t look like a gossip, but sometimes that information just slips out. Most of us think that gossip is bad but it can actually be a good thing in certain situations. It could prevent people from doing things that they know they shouldn’t do.
Researchers at the University of California have done some work on the good side of gossiping. There are certain aspects of it that can help in social situations. The study is called “The Virtues of Gossip” and explains that through gossip of other people it can be a warning to others about what not to do.
When someone’s bad behaviors are exploited through idle gossip other people can see how damaging that behavior is if others find out about it. Perhaps someone has cheated on a spouse and the rumor mill begins in the office. Someone else who is thinking about having an affair may think twice after seeing how quickly word can spread.
Professor Robb Willer conducted a study through Craigslist where 300 people played an economic trust game and were entered to win $50 after playing the game.