10 Lab-Tested Ways to Bring Out the Best in People
The best of human nature—generosity, compassion, cooperation, selflessness—surfaced in these studies. Of course, the goal is to draw out a person's good side, not exploit it. Use your powers wisely.
By Jena Pincott
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Discovery #8: Rub Them the Right Way
Once you express your trust, there's an easy way to maximize that goodwill: Give a massage. In Zak's follow-up study, volunteers received a 15-minute professional rub-down before they played a game during which they received an "I trust you" cue from a stranger. Their oxytocin levels soared—and so did their generosity (especially women's). They gave away 243 percent more money than players who received identical trust signals but not massage. Such is the power of the trust-and-touch combo punch: It makes people significantly more cooperative and willing to sacrifice so that everyone does well.