We love indulging in the odd bit of gossip, and now a new scientific study appears to prove that it can actually be good for us.
The study examined the effects of gossiping on female students and found that taking part in gossip led to an increase in oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that is commonly referred to as the “love” or “trust” hormone.
Even better, gossiping was found to lead to a reduction in cortisol, a hormone that is related to stress.
The new study, published last month, was conducted by three researchers at the University of Pavia.
It involved 22 female students, who were randomly assigned to take part in either a gossip conversation or a non-gossip conversation.
The oxytocin and cortisol levels of each student were tested both before and after the conversations, and those who took part in the gossip conversation were found to have higher levels of oxytocin (although both groups had lower cortisol levels).
The researchers therefore concluded that gossiping could be responsible for helping to make us feel good, while also pointing toward some of the reasons why gossiping has evolved as a part of our daily lives.
“Gossip is a pervasive social behavior,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
“Its evolutionary survival seems related to its social functions, such as establishing group rules, punishing trespassers, exercising social influence through reputational systems, and developing and strengthening social bonds.”
So next time you’re at after-work drinks, you know what you need to do.