Mobile phones are the new garden fences?



Whatever its moral status, there is certainly some evidence to suggest that gossip is a deep-seated human instinct: evolutionary psychologists have compared the evolution of gossip in humans with the practice of ‘social grooming’ among chimps – where the animals spend hours grooming each other’s fur, even when they are perfectly clean, as a form of social bonding. This would indicate that gossip, far from being a trivial pastime, actually performs a vital and socially therapeutic function.

Until now, however, there has been no specific research on the role played by mobile phones in this context. Given the important social functions of gossip – and the role of mobile phones as a modern medium for gossiping – this is a significant omission.


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