5 years ago

Gossiping About Deviance: Evidence That Deviance Spurs the Gossip That Builds Bonds.

We propose that the gossip that is triggered when people witness behaviors that deviate from social norms builds social bonds. To test this possibility, we showed dyads of unacquainted students a short video of everyday campus life that either did or did not include an incident of negative or positive deviance (dropping or cleaning up litter). Study 1 showed that participants in the deviance conditions reported having a greater understanding of campus social norms than those in the control condition; they also expressed a greater desire to gossip about the video. Study 2 found that when given the opportunity, participants did gossip about the deviance, and this gossip was associated with increased norm clarification and (indirectly) social cohesion. These findings suggest that gossip may be a mechanism through which deviance can have positive downstream social consequences.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617716918

DOI: 10.1177/0956797617716918

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