Study: Gossip can be good for society

WTOP:

Mean girls, look out! Gossip can be used for good.

A study conducted recently at Stanford University looked at the dynamics of people working within a group, and how problems occur when the classic egotistical and selfish bully takes over, derailing and damaging progress and equanimity fostered by the rest.

The test was to see if a dose of their own medicine would change their bullying behavior and how this might benefit social situations across society.

Published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the study explores the nature of gossip and ostracism. The findings indicate that when the rest of the group starts freezing out the bullies, and “gossiping” about their weaknesses and transgressions, their behavior is likely to change.

“Groups do even better if they can gossip and ostracize untrustworthy members. While both of these behaviors can be misused, our findings suggest that they also serve very important functions for groups and society,” said Dr. Matthew Feinberg, one of the researchers quoted in a Daily Mail report on the study.

Read the whole story: WTOP

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