Women really are far more likely to gossip than men, according to a new study.
Researchers quizzing people on sharing found men were far less eager to share negative information about themselves than women.
However, when it came to gossiping about positive news, little difference was found between the genders in their propensity to spread information.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, suggest their results point towards men showing greater concern over the way people view them.
They also found that women enjoy gossiping far more than men – as shown by their reporting greater satisfaction with their levels of disclosure.
The international research team, from universities in the United States and Italy, sought to identify gender differences in information sharing in the digital age, as most existing research in this area predates the internet.
Given we now inhabit a world in which many share even the most private information on a variety of platforms each day, this latest study offers an updated insight into sharing in the digital age.
The researchers, from the Bayes Business School at Carnegie Mellon University in Philadelphia, and the Bocconi University in Milan, northern Italy, conducted three experiments involving more than a thousand participants.
In the first, participants reported times when they felt they were ‘dying’ to disclose information, and whether or not they had shared this information.
The research team interestingly discovered that, though little difference was seen in instances of wanting to share positive information – such as about a promotion – men were far less likely to share negative information, such as being overlooked for a promotion.
Two further studies allowed the researchers to quantify the desire to disclose and assess participants’ desire and propensity to disclose positive or negative information about differing topics and experiences.
Dr. Erin Carbone, a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, said the pattern of women being more readily sharing negative information has never been identified before.
“The results from our studies revealed a consistent, and to the best of our knowledge not previously identified, nuanced pattern, wherein the tendency for women to disclose more than men depends crucially on the nature of the information shared,” Dr. Carbone, a first author of the study, said.
“These findings can help make sense of the existing literature, as well as clarify some existing stereotypes, around gender differences in disclosure.”
The researchers’ study additionally found that women reported greater satisfaction than men in their levels of disclosure, whereas men had a greater tendency to withhold information about their thoughts and feelings even when it might be better to share with others.
Irene Scopelliti, a Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass), and another author of the study, added: “Disclosure is increasingly prevalent and permanent in the digital age.
“The advent of social media and digital communication channels has enabled unprecedented levels of information sharing, which is accompanied by an array of social and psychological consequences.
“Our results show that gender remains an important fault line when it comes to the desire and propensity to disclose negative information.
“Men may be differentially advantaged by – or vulnerable to – the consequences of information sharing compared to women.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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