According to a new research, the gluing chitchat keeps people's behaviour in check because folks want to look good to others and don't want to be thought badly of. Experiments conducted by a team from Queen's University, Belfast, showed that 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. The person being talked about had to be aware that they would be identified in the gossip before they became significantly more generous.
In these circumstances people take the opportunity to try to enhance their reputation amongst friends and colleagues.
"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 Telegraph quoted the study, as stating.
The study tasked 72 college students with dividing up 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 that they knew 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 study concluded: "The current research provides clear experimental evidence showing that concerns about being identified and gossiped about play an important role in prosocial behaviour."
The study is published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.