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A rumor is an unverified account or explanation of an event that is transmitted from person to person. Rumors may be transmitted for specific reasons, such as to blame a person or group member for a particular action or to harm a reputation. However, rumors can also provide useful information in ambiguous situations.

At a group level, sharing information in the form of rumors can enhance group cohesion and strengthen emotional ties within the group. At an individual level, sharing rumors can help reduce stress due to uncertainty. Although rumors can be transmitted without distortion of the original account, they often become distorted as they are passed on from person to person. In the case of rumors about groups, the information that survives in distorted rumor ...

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