Understanding ‘chismis’ and why people do it



CEBU CITY, Philippines— Gossips.

Here in the Philippines, it is considered one of our favorite pastimes.

According to a study by the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, gossip is simply an exchange of personal information.

“Gossip, the exchange of personal information about absent third parties, is ubiquitous in human societies.”

If you go around the streets of Cebu, you will find yourself looking at a group of people standing along the side of the road or sitting down, gossiping, or in layman’s term, making “chismis/tsismis.”

Some will be so loud about it, while others are subtly making it “chismis” obvious by whispering but eyes are wandering.


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In the study of PNAS entitled, “Explaining the evolution of gossip,” their argument states that gossiping is not merely talking about the absent third party or parties involved, but, rather, individuals joining in the gossip session are the ones making sure they don’t get to be the topic of gossip.

“Specifically, the dissemination of information about individuals’ reputations leads more individuals to condition their behavior on others’ reputations. This induces individuals to behave more cooperatively toward gossipers in order to improve their reputations,” said an excerpt of the study.

So, making “chismis” is somehow safeguarding our reputation by learning about others’ reputation.

Why people gossip

On a lighter note, let’s try and go through the waves as to why people gossip.

  1. Social Bonding – Gossiping brings people together, creating a sense of closeness and unity within a group.
  2. Entertainment – Gossiping is like a real-life soap opera, providing amusement and a break from everyday routine.
  3. Power and Status – Those in the know wield influence; gossip can be a tool for enhancing one’s social standing and asserting power.
  4. Validation – Sharing gossip can boost self-esteem by seeking confirmation of one’s beliefs or actions.
  5. Risk Assessment – Gossip helps individuals gauge potential threats or opportunities in their social circle, offering a form of self-protection.

So, whether you’re bonding over the latest scoop or playing Sherlock in the social scene, gossiping isn’t just talk—it’s the glue that keeps our social world spinning whether we like it or not.

But be cautious about learning the art of “chismis” it can sometimes get a little too addictive.

What’s the latest chismis, Siloys?

TAGS: gossip, life
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