London, Apr 16 (UNI) Good news for gossip mongers as a new research shows that gossip keeps people's behaviour in check because they want to look good to others and don't want to be thought badly of.
According to the scientists, people were more generous if they were told that their actions would be gossiped about. If there was no chance that they would be talked about, they would not be so giving, scientists said.
Published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, the study found, ''It would appear that the threat of gossip only serves to promote generous behaviour when people are given the opportunity to enhance their reputation.'' The experiment by Queen's University, Belfast asked 72 college students to divide 10 tokens representing lottery tickets between themselves and a second person in whatever way they wanted.
Some of the students were then told that the anonymous second person would discuss or gossip about their allocation with a third party.
A selection was introduced to the third party before the experiment, meaning they knew that they could be identified to the second person after making their allocations.
In this situation, where the person's reputation was at stake, the students were significantly more generous, the Daily Telegraph reported.
People took the opportunity to try to enhance their reputation amongst friends and colleagues, the study revealed.
The study said, ''The current research provides clear experimental evidence showing that concerns about being identified and gossiped about play an important role in prosocial behaviour.'' It is only when people are bad at it that it becomes a problem, the study added.
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