This research was sponsored in part by two grants of The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded to Bianca Beersma (Grant 451.04.100) and Gerben van Kleef (Grant 451.05.010). The authors thank Joyce Jacobs and Judith Janssens for their help with the data collection.
Why People Gossip: An Empirical Analysis of Social Motives, Antecedents, and Consequences†
Article first published online: 1 NOV 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 42, Issue 11, pages 2640–2670, November 2012
How to Cite
Beersma, B. and Van Kleef, G. A. (2012), Why People Gossip: An Empirical Analysis of Social Motives, Antecedents, and Consequences. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42: 2640–2670. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00956.x
- Issue published online: 16 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 1 NOV 2012
- Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Grant Numbers: 451.04.100, 451.05.010
In 3 studies with student samples, we advance a social-motivational approach to gossip. We developed the Motives to Gossip Questionnaire to distinguish negative influence, information gathering and validation, social enjoyment, and group protection as motives underlying gossip. Study 1 demonstrated that these motives can be distinguished empirically, and that the informational motive was the most prevalent reason to instigate gossip. Study 2 showed that group protection was especially important when the opportunity to gossip with a group member about another member's norm-violating behavior was salient. Study 3 showed that when participants imagined someone gossiped to them about another group member's norm violation, and ascribed this to group protection, they rated the gossip as social and did not disapprove of it.