The Science of Gossip

We should be mindful about what we say. Hearing gossip about yourself or others could change your life.

Courtesy of Stockvault

We should be mindful about what we say. Hearing gossip about yourself or others could change your life.

Katelyn Grant, Staff Writer

It’s a regular day at school. You go through your classes and learn some things. And you talk. You talk to your friends, your teachers, and the kids in your group for a class project. You talk to a lot, a lot of people. And most of the time, you will hear things back. Some topics will be great, like hearing that your friend’s soccer team won the State Championship. Or you will hear things that make you sad, angry, confused, or many other emotions.

But what happens when we hear something scandalous, maybe? Do you feel surprised, upset, giddy, or angry? Sometimes. But really, that feeling, when you hear from someone that a girl in your science class’ boyfriend was cheating on them, what is that? What is that feeling? For now, I would like to call that feeling the Umami effect.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Umami means “a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter).” It also could be called our fifth taste, our fifth sense, and many other names. But no one, not even the dictionary, knows how to describe it since it is different for every person. For me, Umami is two-faced. It could either be sound and sweet or unfortunate and salty.

Hearing gossip or drama about either yourself or someone else could change your life. Dr. Denise Eaddy-Richardson is the substitute counselor for eighth graders at Clague.

“[The impact] in the extreme can make you shut down, become distrustful and interfere with relationships with peers or family members or create a lack of self-esteem,” Eaddy said. “ The impact is dependent upon how much and how extreme the gossip is. It can also feel demeaning as if people are purposefully trying to put you down.”

Eaddy also said that when she was in middle school, she also heard a rumor about herself: “It made me angry and it made me want to get to the bottom of it.– Who made it and why.”

So it is not just you or your best friend who has been the target of a rumor gone astray. Many people have been the latest news of the student population and have felt the same way you have felt.

Now you know the two sides of the gossip and what they feel: the receiver and the person the gossip is about. Additionally, an article in TIME magazine talks about why people gossip and how some gossip might be good for you. It says that only 15 percent of all gossip is negative and only 9 percent is positive but “while it is true that people can spend a significant amount of time talking about their peers, oftentimes that chatter is benign.”

“Some researchers believe that gossip helped our ancestors survive. They compared gossip to the grooming primates engage in as means of bonding. Gossiping gives humans the ability to spread valuable information to very large social networks. As word near-inevitably trickles back to the source of said gossip, it can “serve to keep people in check,” morally speaking.”

All in all, gossip can really hurt people’s feelings if you don’t say it or perhaps “use it” correctly but also can bring people together in a community, starting way back when humans looked like apes. So, since we all are capable of speaking our mind and saying what we want to say, be mindful before you say something, even if it’s just for fun.