What is Rumor?


Rumor is a false report or story that spreads among a group of people. It can have a wide range of effects, including attracting attention, evoking emotion, inciting involvement, and influencing attitudes and actions. Although gossip and rumor are often used interchangeably, they differ in function and content. Gossip is a form of evaluative social talk that provides social network formation and group solidarity, while rumor functions to make sense of an ambiguous situation or to help people adapt to perceived or actual threats.

While rumors may be based on fact, they are often not verified. Rumors may also contain exaggerations, outright lies, or distortions of reality. Rumors are often influenced by a variety of factors, including anxiety (both situational and personality-based), ambiguity, and information importance.

There are three broad psychological motivations that drive the transmission of rumors: (1) fact-finding, (2) relationship enhancement, and (3) self-enhancement. The first two motivations are important in both positive and negative rumor situations, while the latter is particularly critical in times of crisis or uncertainty.

An unsubstantiated or partially true story that spreads from person to person in a social network, typically by word of mouth. In some cases, rumors can have serious consequences such as sullying a company’s reputation or triggering riots.

A rumor is typically more likely to be believed if it reflects a common fear or worry shared by a large group of people, or if it has been endorsed by an authority figure. Rumors can also be triggered by curiosity, anger, or the desire to gain status.

The word rumor is derived from the Latin word rmor, which means “common talk.” A rumor is not necessarily true, but it can be highly influential. It is a common saying that the truth will set you free, but sometimes it will just make you mad.

Rumor has many synonyms, antonyms, and related words, such as comment, fabrication, hoax, lie, libel, and speculation. Use the search box above to find more words.

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Unlike gossip, which is a form of social talk, a rumor is a false statement that is circulated and spreads among a group of people. The term rumor is also associated with an erroneous or incomplete statement made publicly, often in the media.

The earliest modern scholarly research on rumors dates back to the pioneering experiments of the German psychologist William Stern in 1902. His experiment involved a chain of subjects passing a story from mouth to mouth, without repeating it or explaining it. Stern’s work demonstrated that the resulting rumor was significantly different by the time it reached the end of the chain.

Rumor is closely entwined with a host of social and organizational phenomena, including social cognition, attitude formation and maintenance, prejudice and stereotyping, and intergroup relations and trust. In addition to its social consequences, rumor has been linked to organizational performance and even natural disasters.