2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
German researchers have come to the conclusion that children begin to gossip at preschool age. The work report is published in the British Journal of Development Psychology.
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig invited three and five-year-olds to participate in the experiment. Each age group was asked to play with two dolls. During the game, the children exchanged chips with them, and it was allowed to give at least four pieces for one round. One of the dolls followed this rule, while the other cheated by giving either one or seven tokens.
In the course of the experiment, some children played with both dolls, while others, after a short communication with their predecessor, had to choose one play partner for themselves.
It turned out that three-year-olds talk about the behavior of dolls only 23 percent of the time. Five-year-olds voluntarily expressed value judgments about absent game partners (gossip) much more willingly - in 54 percent of cases. Due to a lack of research on the topic, it was previously thought that children start gossiping around the age of ten.
“Thus, gossip - an often criticized aspect of human sociality - begins in the early stages of development,” the scientists concluded. In their opinion, the use of gossip is associated with the development in children of the ability to substantiate their statements.
Earlier, American researchers showed that gossip helps to enter into relationships with cooperative people and to avoid potential offenders.