Gossiping- this activity is universal that there are magazines, websites, youtube channels, TV shows and almost entire career’s dedicated to the concept. Gossipping is a human thing to do and even the most ‘holier-than-thou’ people may have indulged in it at least once in their lives. Because this concept is so darn universal, a group of researchers decided to look into it in more detail. The recent study found that, among other things, the average person spends approximately 52 minutes a day gossiping— and most of it is pretty mundane.
The study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, relied on data from five observational studies involving 467 total participants. All of the study participants wore a gadget that recorded their conversations sporadically over the course of two to five days, and the participants also filled out personality questionnaires and provided information about themselves. Gossipers are often seen as “immoral, uneducated, typically female, and of lower social class,” notes the study — coded language that denotes how the act of gossiping, which is most frequently attributed to women, is looked down upon. The study’s results contradicted this stereotype: women and men tended to gossip roughly the same amount, and women tended to engage in more neutral gossip than men. Only 15% of the conversations the study looked at were "petty or judgmental,"
"Gathering information about others helps us understand them better,” Elena Martinescu, a postdoctoral researcher at King's College London who studies workplace gossip. “More generally, gossip helps us learn what is expected of us in order to be a good group member, and what might happen if we break social norms.”
Of course, gossiping can be harmful and negative, too. But the results of the latest study, as well as past research, seem to suggest that the stereotypes revolving around gossiping are a little outdated, and perhaps a little water cooler chit chat might not be so bad after all.