We know that to live a long and healthy life we should eat lots of fruit and vegetables, avoiding smoking and alcohol, exercise and keep our mind sharp. But did you know that there are other things, most of us are already doing every day, that could also help us add extra years to our lives?
According to Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, gossip is the “Most important thing” to keep us alive.
His theory is backed by evidence through the years since human life began that through gossip we learn important information on who to trust and who to avoid. Professor Dunbar said, “That has a bigger effect than anything, except giving up cigarettes.”
“Your social network has a huge effect on happiness and well-being. The problem we have is how to maintain our social networks. Language evolved to allow us to keep the oil of the social network flowing, keep us up to date, and tell stories, which is really important for community cohesion. Gossiping is just chatting with people and keeping up to date with the social world in which you live. So gossip is what makes us human. The use of gossip in a negative sense is not seen until the 18th century.”
“Even today the vast majority of human communication, whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns is gossip. It comes so naturally, that it seems as if our language evolved for this very purpose. He said.
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He also added that ‘rumour-mongers’ were in fact the first journalists, helping inform others about who to avoid and who to trust.
So this weekend when you catch up for coffee or dinner with your friends, don’t shy away from sharing what you’ve heard around the neighbourhood… Because it’s actually keeping you connected, sharp, informed and alive!
Tell us, do you and your friends gossip? Are you happy to admit to sometimes gossiping? Share your thoughts on this scientist’s opinion in the comments below…