Campus / News / February 25, 2015

McAndrew shares studies that women gossip more

Professor of Psychology Frank McAndrew led a talk entitled "The Sword of a Woman--Gossip and Female Aggression" on Feb. 23. (Williams Shen/TKS)

Professor of Psychology Frank McAndrew led a talk entitled “The Sword of a Woman–Gossip and Female Aggression” on Feb. 23. (Williams Shen/TKS)

As the old Chinese proverb says, “Gossip is the sword of a woman — and she never lets it get rusty.”

That’s where Professor of Psychology Frank McAndrew got the title of his talk, “The ‘Sword of a Woman?’ — Gossip and Female Aggression” which he presented on Monday night. The talk was sponsored by Neuroscience Club.

McAndrew confronted the stereotype that women gossip more than men and are more catty.

“Is this just a stereotype, or is there something to this?” McAndrew said.

There’s something to it. Even though men are more physically aggressive, women gossip and ostracize, which makes them arguably more aggressive than men.

McAndrew defined gossip as talking about a person who’s not present in the conversation and using information from which one can make moral judgements.

“And it’s got to be fun,” McAndrew said.

One example of this is Facebook. Women experience more Facebook-related jealousy than men do, often by looking through Facebook at other women, and spending time thinking about their photos and other women’s photos.

McAndrew argued that most gossip is about people of the same gender and age group. More younger women gossip, which makes sense evolutionarily — that’s the prime age for finding a match and beating out the competition.

“We’re walking around in the 21st century with Stone Age minds,” McAndrew said.

About 15 students and staff attended the lecture.

“It was informational and very much like Frank McAndrew,” sophomore James Lenihan said. “He’s really funny, and that’s the reason I came to the talk.”

Tags:  Frank McAndrew gossip Neuroscience Club psychology department

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a junior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. This is her first year as managing editor, after having served as co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of two awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. In 2014 she won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize and Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism. During the summer of 2014, she will be interning at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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