We had a extensive conversation about this on Joel and Maryann in the Morning, and most agreed with the findings of a recent study.
Holding the door for someone, paying for the person behind you at the drive-thru, or sending someone some flowers for no reason. These are all considered “random acts of kindness,” and they all, according to this new study, have a positive effect of both the giver and the receiver.
The aforementioned study was conducted at the University of Texas at Austin and University of Chicago and has found that random acts of kindness have a ripple effect of positivity. To prove this, researchers provided questionnaires to both the person performing the good deed and the person receiving it to see how their mood was impacted.
Everyone who participated in the study were instructed to do two random acts of kindness within two days, the acts ranged from helping a friend to buying lunch for a stranger to giving someone a gift.
On a scale of negative five (most negative) to five (most positive), those who were the good-deed doers thought that recipients would rank at two point three two on the happiness scale, while in reality, recipients averaged a three point five five after experiencing the kind act of randomness.
In another experiment in Chicago, eighty four participants gathered in a public park, where they were asked if they wanted to keep a cup of hot chocolate for themselves or would they like to give it to a stranger. All but nine of the participants chose to give it away, with the chocolaty treat recipients rating their positive mood at three point five, as opposed to the two point seven that the doers predicted.
“Both performers and recipients were in better moods after. But it was clear that performers underestimated the value of their actions,” says researcher Amit Kumar. “People aren’t way off base. They get that being kind to people makes them feel good. What we don’t get is how good it really makes others feel.”
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