It’s very natural to feel guilty after gossiping about a friend or colleague, but scientists have found that crafty chats, which is termed ‘gossip theory’ are what makes us human and different from other animal species, and may even help us live longer! Experts also say that by gossiping, we also learn important information on who to trust, which can help us live longer, according to Daily Mail Online!
Prof Dunbar told the Telegraph:
‘That has a bigger effect than anything, except giving up cigarettes.
‘Your social network has a huge effect on happiness and well-being.
‘The problem we have is how to maintain our social networks. Language evolved to allow us to keep the oil of the social network flowing, keep us up to date, and tell stories, which is really important for community cohesion.
‘Gossiping is just chatting with people and keeping up to date with the social world in which you live. So gossip is what makes us human.
‘The use of gossip in a negative sense is not seen until the 18th century.’
The idea is that as language developed it allowed humans to communicate better, thereby making them more likely to pass on useful information and allowing them to live in larger groups.
Yuval Noah Harari, a history professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, also told the newspaper:
‘The new linguistic skills that modern humans acquired about 70 millennia ago enabled them to gossip for hours on end.
‘Reliable information about who could be trusted meant that small bands could expand into larger bands.
‘Even today the vast majority of human communication, whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns is gossip.
‘It comes so naturally, that it seems as if our language evolved for this very purpose.’
He added that ‘rumour-mongers’ were in fact the first journalists, helping inform others about who to avoid and who to trust.
Do you agree with both scientists? Let us know your thoughts!