Psst, have you heard…?
A team of researchers say gossip is more powerful than truth and people believe the grapevine even if they have evidence to the contrary.Updated: Oct 17, 2007 21:24 IST
All those who berate film magazines and Page 3 of newspapers for spreading saucy gossip, though they liven up otherwise dreary mornings for many, will now have to pipe down a bit. A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany says that gossip is more powerful than truth and people believe the grapevine even if they have evidence to the contrary.
Researchers testing students using a computer game also found gossip played an important role when people make decisions, says Ralf Sommerfeld, an evolutionary biologist at the Institute, who led the study.
Well, even as serious editorial writers, we admit that what the study says contains several grains of truth. Why, even governments also acknowledged the power of 'casual and idle talk between friends'. A Soviet war poster released in 1941 shows a stern-looking woman saying: "Don't chatter! Gossiping borders on treason". And, computer geeks have something called 'gossip protocols', a type of computer-computer communication protocols. And, what's their inspiration? Gossip, as done in the social networks. No prizes for guessing that.
Now that the activity has got some respectability of sorts, may we dare to add that gossiping is a basic human activity and just another way of comparing notes with friends about the world around? Oh, can there be something much more exciting or relaxing than sitting around gossiping about — you know who — after a bad day at work?
First Published: Oct 17, 2007 21:20 IST