How much gossip is going on in your life right now? I've been on a mission to stay on the straight-and-narrow for a while--I was getting weirdly mired in the details of situations that really had nothing to do with me--but, according to a new study, maybe I should try a different tack.
According to research from UC Berkeley in the newest issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, gossip may help us curb the bad behavior and prevent the exploitation of others, and even lower stress in ourselves.
In one experiment of the four-part study, volunteers' heart rates increased when they saw someone cheating at a card game. When they were able to share that information with someone else, their heart rates lowered: "Passing on the gossip ameliorated their negative feelings and tempered their frustration," according to Robb Willer, the coauthor of the study.
Ultimately, says Willer, "when we observe someone behave in an immoral way, we get frustrated. But being able to communicate this information to others who could be helped makes us feel better."
It's a very specific type of gossip they're talking about, of course--it's not exactly free license to go and chat it up about everybody and everything.
But given this new research, maybe every cast of "Real Housewives," ever, has been onto something with their smack talk? (Or maybe not...)