Sunday 4 December 2016

Keep up the gossip, it is what makes you human

Published 08/06/2015 | 15:57

Everyone is guilty of gossiping, and that is ok because, it turns out, it is perfectly normal, healthy, and one of the key things that makes us human.

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In fact, talking about people behind their backs is a vital part of life and could even keep us alive longer, says evolutionary psychologist Professor Robin Dunbar.

According to the Oxford professor, gossip is what makes people human because it allows us to pass on vital information about who to trust, and helps us bond with family and friends.

So far from feeling guilty about gossiping about others, we should accept it as a vital part of human life.

“Your social network has a huge effect on happiness and wellbeing,” he told a Cheltenham Science Festival.

“[And] the most important thing that will prevent you dying is the size of the social network.”

“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. It used to be what you did with your friends.”

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