Marko Škorić, Ana Bilinović Rajačić, and Aleksej Kišjuhas: Small Talk Grooming. Social and Evolutionary Functions of Gossip


This article analyzes the biosocial origins of gossip by pointing to its significant social and evolutionary functions. Along with the problems of defining it, the article deals with gossip’s bad reputation and analyzes sociocultural functions of gossip and small talk as mechanisms of social comparison, as well as means of transferring cultural norms, values, and rules. Furthermore, it offers a detailed analysis of gossip as an evolutionary phenomenon that represents a unique form of social grooming among humans and performs the function of strengthening social ties and social cohesion. Finally, the gossip is portrayed as a means of spreading adaptive information concerning status, resources, and sex.