(NEW YORK) -- Researchers from the Netherlands say that listening to gossip impacts the way we judge ourselves.
The study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, looked at two separate groups, consisting of a total of 305 undergraduate students. The students listened to either positive or negative gossip, and found that either form could have a positive impact on their feelings about themselves.
Listening to positive gossip, researchers said, allowed the listeners to use the information they heard for self-improvement. Meanwhile, listening to negative gossip gave listeners an ego boost, as they felt superior to the person being gossiped about.
Those students who listened to negative gossip were, however, more guarded, out of concern that they too may be the subject of gossip behind their backs.
The study also found that men and women react to hearing gossip slightly differently. Women who listened to negative gossip were more likely to be concerned about their own risk of being gossiped about than men, while men who heard positive gossip experienced more fear.
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