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A reading test - gossip.

Do women gossip more than men?

Gossip is often maligned. But it’s an important part of social cooperation and information sharing – and is complimentary more often than you might think. But despite the longstanding perception that women gossip more than men, there’s no evidence that this is the case. Gossip is often treated with disdain or hostility. But it can be useful for small groups.

There’s an important distinction to make here about how most of us define gossip – as a way of trash-talking someone not present – and how scientists do. In social science, gossip usually is defined as communication about a person who isn’t present in a way that involves evaluation of that person, good or bad. This kind of informal communication is crucial for sharing information. Gossip is necessary for social cooperation; it’s largely this kind of talk that cements social bonds and clarifies social norms.

Do you believe that women gossip more than men?

a. Yes

b. No

c. About the same.

Post your answer as a comment on the home page.