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Gossip as an Intrasexual Competition Strategy: Sex Differences in Gossip Frequency, Content, and Attitudes

A Correction to this article was published on 30 October 2017

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Abstract

From an evolutionary perspective, gossip has been considered a putative intrasexual competition strategy that is used to vie for mates and resources linked to reproductive success. To date, no study has directly examined the relations between intrasexual competitiveness, reported tendency to gossip, and attitudes toward gossiping. Limited empirical work has also focused on whether gossip frequency, gossip content, and gossip attitudes correspond to women’s and men’s divergent intrasexual competition strategies and evolved mating preferences. In a sample of 290 heterosexual young adults, we found that intrasexual competition positively predicted reported gossip frequency and favorable attitudes toward gossiping. Additionally, women reported a greater tendency to gossip in comparison to men, particularly about physical appearance and social information, whereas men reported gossiping more about achievement. Women also reported greater enjoyment of, and perceived more value in, gossiping than men. Collectively, these findings provide empirical support for the hypothesis that gossip is an intrasexual competition tactic that, by and large, corresponds to women’s and men’s evolved mate preferences and differential mate competition strategies.

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  • 30 October 2017

    In Table 1 of the published article, the mean and standard deviation values for women and men on the Tendency to Gossip Questionnaire (TGQ) are in the incorrect columns. Women had a M = 67.09 (SD = 19.47), whereas men had a M = 60.20 (SD = 17.91) on the TGQ.

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Correspondence to Adam C. Davis.

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Davis, A.C., Dufort, C., Desrochers, J. et al. Gossip as an Intrasexual Competition Strategy: Sex Differences in Gossip Frequency, Content, and Attitudes. Evolutionary Psychological Science 4, 141–153 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-017-0121-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40806-017-0121-9

Keywords

  • Gossip
  • Intrasexual competition
  • Mate preferences
  • Sex differences