Rumor & Gossip Research
Keith Jackson points to Ralph Rosnow's and Eric Foster's article, "Rumor and Gossip Research," published by the American Psychological Association.
I read the article, and paraphrased the following quotes:
"Rumor mongering is viewed as an attempt to deal with anxieties and uncertainties by generating and passing stories and suppositions that can explain things, address anxieties, and provide a rationale for behavior. "
"We can usually distinguish between two types of rumors those invoking hoped-for consequences (wish rumors) and those invoking feared or disappointing consequences (dread rumors). Another is that people have a tendency to spread rumors that they perceive as credible (even the most ridiculous stories), although when anxieties are intense, rumormongers are less likely to monitor the logic or plausibility of what they pass on to others."
"Bordia & Rosnow have uncovered systematic patterns in both the content and level of individual participation, consistent with the theoretical idea of rumor mongering as a collective, problem-solving interaction that is sustained by a combination of anxiety, uncertainty, and credulity."
"We found that denser networks are less vulnerable to social fragmentation from gossip. However, this effect is moderated by "gatekeepers" who tend to position themselves along unique social bridges between other network members. Disintermediating, that is, increasing the density of social connections around gatekeepers, is expected to decrease negative effects of gossiping and to assist in improving norm coherence. Thus, the structure of the gossip network, as much as the content, can contribute to collegiality and understanding as well as to inequality and conflict."
Posted by johncass at June 14, 2006 11:54 AM
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