Many people regard gossip as idle chatter that can harm people’s reputations, but it may have some benefits, such as reducing stress, discouraging bad behavior and preventing exploitation.

許多人認為八卦是無聊的閒扯,足以損人聲譽,但其實它可能也有些益處,諸如減少壓力、阻擋不良行為和防止被人利用。

That’s the finding of a University of California, Berkeley study that included four experiments involving hundreds of volunteers.

這是加州大學柏克萊分校的一項研究發現,該研究包含了四次實驗,有數百名志願者參加。

"Gossip gets a bad rap, but we’re finding evidence that it plays a critical role in the maintenance of social order," study co-author and social psychologist Robb Willer said in a university news release.

「八卦口碑差,但是我們找出證據證明在維持社會秩序方面,它扮演關鍵角色」,研究的共同作者、社會心理學家羅布威勒在該大學召開的新聞發布會上稱。

He and his colleagues also found that gossip can be therapeutic. Study participants’ heart rates rose when they saw someone behaving badly, but the increase was moderated when they were able to tell others about what they had witnessed.

他與其同僚還發現,八卦具有治療功效。當研究參與者看到某人行為不軌時,心跳速度加快;但是當他們能就所目睹之事向他人傾訴時,心跳速度就趨緩下來。

"Spreading information about the person whom they had seen behave badly tended to make people feel better, quieting the frustration that drove their gossip," Willer explained.

「看到某人行為不良並傳播這個人的消息,往往會讓人感覺好過一些,減少說八卦的挫敗感」,威勒解釋

"We shouldn’t feel guilty for gossiping if the gossip helps prevent others from being taken advantage of," lead author and social psychologist Matthew Feinberg said in the news release.

「如果八卦有助防止他人被占便宜,我們就不必對講八卦懷有罪惡感」,該研究主筆、馬修范柏格在新聞發布會上說。

新聞辭典

◎ idle:形容詞,無目的的;無益的;無聊的。例句:It would be idle to try to make him change his mind.(想使他改變主意是徒勞的。)

◎ bad rap:俚語,口碑差;不公的指控或懲罰。例句:He had a bad rap, but he’s actually very nice in person.(他的口碑很不好,但他的為人其實是很好的。)

◎ therapeutic:形容詞,治療性的;有療效的。

 

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