WASHINGTON – Some kinds of gossip may actually be good for you.
When researchers at the University of California, Berkeley had a group of people watch a game where they noticed one player cheating, the group’s heart rates went up. But when the group was able to tell the honest player what was going on, it helped them relax.
The urge to help was so strong that in a separate experiment, people were even willing to give up cash in order to give the player being snookered a heads up.
The researchers are careful to point out that the benefit likely comes from helping others, with what they call “prosocial” gossip, which is very different from just spreading rumors.
The study is published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”