Go ahead and gossip. It’s good for society.

The Washington Post: 

An experiment to study the nature of gossip and ostracism suggests both serve important roles in society: reforming bullies and encouraging cooperation.

“Groups that allow their members to gossip,” says Matthew Feinberg, a Stanford University postdoctoral researcher, “sustain cooperation and deter selfishness better than those that don’t. And 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.”

The experiment, published in Psychological Science, involved 216 participants who were divided into groups and who decided whether to make financial choices that would benefit their group.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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