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date: 20 August 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Gossip is the weapon of choice in the indirect relationship aggression that occurs among women. However, gossip can also be a positive force in the life of groups. In this chapter, I maintain that gossip is an evolutionary adaptation that enabled our prehistoric ancestors to be socially successful and explore the complicated roles gossip plays in human social life. I argue that an interest in the affairs of same-sex others is especially strong among females and that this is not always benign. I review the evidence that women are more likely than men to use gossip in an aggressive, competitive manner and maintain that understanding the dynamics of competitive gossip may also give us insight into related social phenomena such as how people use social media such as Facebook and why men and women often have such different tastes in movies and television.

Keywords: gossip, sex differences, aggression, female competition, evolutionary psychology, Facebook

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