Watch CBSN Live

Understanding the human need for gossip

We've all at one point or another participated in a juicy gossip session. It's only natural, right? According to a new book, gossiping is exactly that -- natural, for women at least. In fact, according to the author, it is part of the evolutionary process.

Whether it's sharing secrets on television or dishing dirt in magazines, gossip is big business, generating $3 billion a year annually on TV, print and online.

According author John Locke, it's part of human evolution.

"If there are women behaving promiscuously or they do things that don't reflect well on the women of the community, then women have a perfectly good right to police the neighborhood, and that's frequently what they're doing when they gossip," he told "The Early Show" contributor Taryn Winter Brill.

In his new book, "Duels and Duets," Locke explores the different ways in which men and women communicate among themselves.

"Men tend to be aggressive, competitive, jokey, he said.

Locke said women, on the other hand, "Are trying to forge relations with a close friend, in part because that will enable cooperation."

Should we feel guilty about gossping?

Locke says, "Should we feel OK, then, about the need to gossip? We should feel okay about it. As long as people aren't trying to hurt each other, there's no reason why they should avoid gossiping."

Psychologist Dr. Michelle Callahan, a contributor to Women's Health magazine, and Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief of stopped by "The Early Show" Wednesday to talk about gossip and the sexes. Check out their interview in the video below.