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Women use gossip to compete for a mans attention: study

Women, Compete, man's attention

Toronto : Although both men and women gossip, women are more likely to use gossiping and rumour-mongering as tactics to badmouth a potential rival who is competing for a mans attention, a study claims. Women also gossip more about other womens looks, whereas men talk about cues to resource holding (eg wealth) and the athleticism of their competitors. According to Adam Davis of the University of Ottawa in Canada, gossiping is a highly evolved social skill and an intrasexual competition tactic that relates to womens and mens evolved preferences.

He therefore sees it as essential for interpersonal relationships, and not a flaw of character. The study, published in journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, provides the first verifiable evidence for a positive link between intrasexual competitiveness, the amount of gossip that people take part in, and whether they are OK with such talk or not. Scholars agree that gossip has evolved as an efficient way to learn more about others, and to enforce group norms. It is also a method by which people can learn more about their rivals, and can call into question their reputation, especially when they are vying for the same romantically or sexually desirable mates.

In this study, 290 heterosexual Canadian students between the ages of 17 and 30 years old completed three questionnaires. One measured how competitive the participants are towards members of the same sex as their own, especially in terms of access to the attention of potential mates. The other questionnaires measured the tendency and likelihood of the participants to gossip about others, the perceived social value of gossip, and whether it is okay to talk about others behind their backs. It was found that people who were competitive towards members of their own sex had a greater tendency to gossip.

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