The Psychology of Gossip
Richardson, Daniel Charles
MetadataShow full item record
Richardson, D. (2014) The Psychology of Gossip, no. 36.
Gossiping carries a number of benefits, both to the individual and to a group. These benefits carry such weight that under certain conditions, gossip can boost survival chances and increase the likelihood of reproduction. This study investigates the evolutionary origin of gossip. This was investigated by seeing whether participants' memory was affected by gossip. Participants were presented with a number of faces attached to a name and a piece of gossip, either neutral, positive or negative in nature. The participants' memory of this information was then tested in several memory games and tests. Although gossip affected the likability scores given to faces, it was not found to affect memory in any significant way. These results are in contrast to the literature and previous investigations into the area. This may be caused by slight faults in the methodology, or it may be caused by complicated biases the memory has for different types of information, or a lack of understanding about how individual differences could affect this type of experiment. The implications this experiment has for gossip research lie on these factors. Future research on gossip would benefit from clarifying these gaps in the knowledge, and from identifying the physical mechanisms behind gossip and how it affects memory.