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What is gossip

Gossip is usually regarded as slightly malicious or ridiculing idle talk or rumor about a person (or persons) that is/are not around in the moment. It is usually about personal or private affairs of others, and is likely the oldest method of sharing of unproven facts or introduction of errors and biased views in the matter. But is it all that bad?How bad is it?

We are all aware that gossiping is not really nice. It carries a sense of being unfair, especially, if you gossip about someone who is close to you, and can leave you with a guilt conscience. Some experts regard gossip as means to reinforce and boost their own standing in a social group and promote their interests, which are frequently selfish, at the expense of others, typically unsuspecting victims. Sounds pretty much like stabbing a friend in the back and climbing over his corpse in order to advance. That is bad, right? Well, in recent years scientists came with and explanation for gossip, and clarified why we like to gossip although we know it is not really fair.

Gossip and evolution

A theory states that gossip is just the drive to collect information. Back in the olden days when our ancestors lived in caves and fought sabertooths, ability to learn (and thus the drive to collect information and learn all kinds of new things) was closely linked with the chance to survive. So, we may simply be "victims" of survivor genes, which force us to take interest in all kinds of things, especially those that happen in our group. After all, back then, you were much more dependent on the group and it was a priority to observe how everybody around you ticks. Sharing of information is means of bonding, in groups and among individuals, and gossip is basically that. Also, primary nature of gossip is moralistic.

Odd as it seems, but gossip targets persons who somehow stands out from the group and violates its standards, and asks for evaluation of that individual's actions from a moral standpoint. Nowadays we rarely have to deal with angry sabertooths and 24/7 cooperation in your social group is no longer a prerequisite for survival, and gossip has lost much if not all of its primary, beneficial purpose. But we haven't evolved out of it yet.So, what about celebrities

This said, how does it make sense to indulge in saucy details of celebrities' blunders? Well, scientists say, celebrities made their way into our everyday lives. To our brains, that somehow makes them part of our group, and thus "gossipable". Those famous people are also what we have in common with so many others, and make a good starting point of conversations.

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