One study is suggesting that gossip and the exchange of hearsay (or "repetitional information"), is actually good, and can shame bullies into changing their ways and benefit society, according to The Daily Mail UK.
The study was conducted when researchers divided 216 women and men into teams of four, and played a game of financial decision making that would benefit them. The second step tested members' selflessness: they were given tokens that "could be donated to a fund for the good of the group, and the rules of the game meant those who did not give anything ended up with more money than those who paid into the central pot."
Members were then allowed to gossip about members or exclude a participant before making another financial decision. They were also allowed to warn each other about freeloaders and those who hoarded cash.
Naturally, people gossiped about bad apples of the group.
The reasoning of why grapevine talk was good for the group? People learn about the behavior of other's through gossip and then align themselves with people who they believe they can better cooperate with. Acccording to Co-author Doctor Robb Willer, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford, "By removing defectors, more cooperative individuals can more freely invest in the public good without fear of exploitation."
As for the castoffs? They usually learn from their mistakes and reform their behavior to join and work better with future groups. But what's even better than that? Skip the smack talk, and aim for an exchange of constructive criticism.
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