Gossip and Emotion

Elena Martinescu, Onne Janssen, Bernard A. Nijstad

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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This chapter proposes that emotions are strongly involved in the functioning of gossip as a mechanism that regulates interpersonal behavior. Emotions may both shape and result from the transmission of gossip, because gossip is associated with any events relevant to individuals’ need and goal fulfillment, and thus fundamentally related to their adaptive success and well-being. First, emotions motivate people to engage in gossip behavior, thereby operating as antecedents of gossip. Second, emotions are experienced by gossip senders and receivers as an intrinsic aspect of the gossiping activity, and therefore emotions are endogenous to gossip. Third, emotions arise in reaction to gossip and may function to prepare behavioral responses for gossip receivers and targets; thus, emotions are important consequences of gossip. The chapter concludes that people’s understanding of gossip may be substantially enhanced when emotions are taken into consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Gossip and Reputation
EditorsFrancesca Giardini, Rafael Wittek
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190494100
ISBN (Print)9780190494087
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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