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Rumor Transmission

Definition

Rumors are unverified information statements that people circulate to make sense of an unclear situation or to deal with a possible threat. Rumors are about issues or situations of topical interest. Rumors are like news except that news is accompanied by solid evidence; rumor is not. A classic example: “I heard that our department is being downsized; what have you heard?” Rumor discussions are thus collective sensemaking and threat-management efforts. The threat could be physical or psychological. In either case, the rumor helps people actively or emotionally prepare for negative events, or to defend against threats to their self-esteem.

Although most people use gossip and rumor interchangeably, they are different. Gossip is evaluative social talk about individuals outside of their hearing. Gossip may or may not ...

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