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双语:我们为何热衷于八卦?

2014-12-01    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

双语:我们为何热衷于八卦?

Did you hear what happened at yesterday's meeting? Can you believe it?
昨天开会发生的事你听说了吗?真不敢相信!

If you find those sort of quietly whispered questions about your co-workers irresistible, you're hardly alone. But why are we drawn to gossip?
如果一些关于你同事的小八卦令你无法抗拒,恭喜你,你并不是一个人。但是,我们为什么会被这些八卦所吸引呢?

A new study suggests it's because the rumors, innuendo, and hearsay are ultimately all about us — where we rate in the unofficial local hierarchy, and how we might improve our standing.
一项新的研究认为这些谣言、暗示和传闻基本上都与我们自身有关,例如我们在非办公场合的地位以及我们该如何提升我们的身份。

"Gossip recipients tend to use positive and negative group information to improve, promote, and protect the self," writes a research team led by Elena Martinescu of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. "Individuals need evaluative information about others to evaluate themselves."
来自荷兰格罗宁根大学(University of Groningen)的埃琳娜•马丁纳斯库(Elena Martinescu)率领团队研究这一问题。他们提到,听到八卦的人会用这些正面的或负面的消息完善、提升和保护自己。每个人都需要通过他人的评价信息来评价自己。

Writing in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,the researchers describe two experiments testing the personal value gossip recipients derive. The first featured 178 university undergraduates who had all previously worked on at least one course assignment with a group of four or more students.
该研究报告发表于《个性与社会心理学通报》(Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin)上,研究人员描述了八卦接收者从中获取对个人有利价值的两个实验。第一个实验邀请了178名在校大学生,他们都曾同四名或四名以上的同学组成小组,一起完成过至少一项课程作业。

Participants "were asked to recall and write a short description of an incident in which a group members shared with them either positive or negative information about another group member's confidence," the researchers write. (Eighty-five received a positive report, 93 a negative one.)
研究人员写道,这些被测试者被要求回忆并写下一段简短的描述,描述小组成员之间一起分享有关于另一组员信心的八卦,无论好坏。(结果表明,85人接收到的是正面消息,93人接收到负面消息。)

They then reported their level of agreement with a series of statements. Some of these measured the self-improvement value of the gossip ("The information received made me think I can learn a lot from X"); others measured its self-promotion value ("The information I received made me feel that I am doing well compared to X"). Still others measured whether the gossip raised personal concerns ("The information I received made me feel that I must protect my image in the group").
接下来,被测试者要对这些评论表达自己的赞同程度。一部分人将这些八卦消息看作是一种自我完善价值(他们认为,这些消息是要告诉他们,某人身上有许多值得他们学习的地方);另一部分人将这些八卦消息看作是一种自我提升价值(收到的消息使他们感觉自己做得比某人好);而剩下的一部分人则认为这些八卦让他们感到担忧(收到这些消息后,他们认为在组内要保护好自己的形象)。

In the second experiment,122 undergraduates were assigned the role of "sales agent" at a major company. They received gossip from a colleague that a third person either did very well or very badly at a performance evaluation, and were then debriefed about the emotions that information evoked. They also responded to the aforementioned set of statements presented to participants in the first experiment.
第二组实验要求122名大学生分别扮演一个大公司的销售代理。首先他们将从一个同事那里听到另外一个同事表现好坏的评价,接着会被问及听到这样一消息时有何感受。同时,他们还要对上个实验中被测试者所做的陈述作出回应。

In each experiment, participants found both negative and positive gossip to be of personal value, albeit for different reasons. "Positive gossip has self-improvement value," they write. "Competence-related positive gossip about others contains lessons about how to improve one's own competence."
在每个实验中,即使原因不同,被测试者们发现这些负面的和正面的八卦消息都与个人价值有关。研究人员写道,正面的八卦消息能产生自我完善价值观。与他人能力相关的正面八卦具有如何提升个人能力的作用。

On the flip side, "negative gossip has self-promotion value, because it provides individuals with social comparison information that justifies self-promoting judgments, which results in feelings of pride."
相反,由于负面八卦会给个人带来一种社会性比较,且这种比较证明了自我提升会带来一种自豪感,因此负面八卦被看作是一种自我提升价值观。


"Contrary to lay perceptions," the researchers assert, "most negative gossip is not intended to hurt the target, but to please the gossiper and receiver."
研究人员称,与世俗的认知相反,大多数负面八卦并不是想伤害那些被谈论的人,仅仅是因为这样做会让谈论者和听众感到开心。

In addition, the results "showed that negative gossip elicited self-protection concerns," the researchers write. "Negative gossip makes people concerned that their reputations may be at risk, as they may personally become targets of negative gossip in the future, which generates fear."
除此之外,研究人员还写道,研究结果表明,负面八卦还会产生一种自我保护意识。它会使人们担心自己的名誉是否受损,因为在将来,自己也可能成为负面八卦的谈论对象。这都会令人产生恐惧感。

Fear is hardly a pleasant sensation, of course, but it can be a motivating one. As Martinescu and her colleagues put it: "Gossip conveniently provides individuals with indirect social-comparison information about relevant others."
当然,恐惧不是一种舒服的感觉,但它可以成为一种前进的动力。正如马丁纳斯库和她的同事所提到的,八卦会适时地给人们带来一种间接同某人作社会性比较的信息。

In other words, if you don't want to be viewed as a goof-off like Charley, you'd better get your act together.
换句话说,如果不想被别人看作像查理(Charley)那样游手好闲的人,你最好改正你的缺点。

It's worth noting that this study did not look at who-is-sleeping-with-who gossip, which presumably has a somewhat different function — although news that an illicit couple has gotten caught could certainly serve as a cautionary tale.
值得一提的是,虽然有不正当关系的两个人被抓可以看做是一个引以为戒的故事,但这项研究并未将“谁和谁有不正当关系”这样的八卦消息放到研究内容中。如果列入调查范围这也许会产生不同的结果。

But it does show that beyond providing "emotional catharsis and social control," confidentially treaded information about the competence, or lack thereof, of a co-worker can be "an essential resource for self-evaluation."
但是,这项研究表明,八卦消息除了能给人们带来“情感宣泄和社会控制”,私下谈论其他同事能力好坏的八卦都会成为“一种自我评价的必要资源”。

Pass the word.
快把这篇文章“八卦”给别人吧。


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