Abstract from here.
Spontaneous trait transference occurs when communicators are perceived as possessing the very traits they describe in others. Study 1 confirmed that communicators become associated with the trait implications of their descriptions of others and that such associations persist over time. Study 2 demonstrated that these associations influence specific trait impressions of communicators. Study 3 suggested that spontaneous trait transference reflects simple associative processes that occur even when there are no logical bases for making inferences. Finally, Study 4 used more naturalistic stimuli and provided additional evidence that the phenomenon reflects mindless associations rather than logical attributions. Together these studies demonstrate that spontaneous trait transference is a reliable phenomenon that plays a previously unrecognized role in social perception and interaction.
Source: "Spontaneous trait transference: communicators taken on the qualities they describe in others." from J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 Apr;74(4):837-48.
I think this is pure karma. As you sow, so you reap, if you gossip about somebody, then the listener associates those bad things that you are gossiping on you.
Ergo, do not gossip. But its strange, I was speaking with somebody and she said that one of her colleagues and friends is a huge gossiper. Despite her being a good person, she is forever associated with gossiping and that’s not in a good way at all. Sad, no? what a sad state of affairs.
I personally find that gossipers are seriously insecure, they find some kind of closure in gossiping about others, tearing down others seems to improve their own standing. But here’s the tragic stupidity, they think it helps, but it actually impacts on them negatively, and with the very people she is gossiping about. Sad.