The Science of Generosity - How to Inspire Kindness and Compassion
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
Original Content | March 08, 2013
"If people know we expect good things from them, they will in most cases go to great lengths to live up to our expectations," the minister Alan Loy McGinnis once said.
Biologically speaking, you just need to push the right buttons. When game-playing volunteers in a study led by Paul Zak, PhD, at Claremont Graduate University were given a large amount of money by strangers—a signal of trust—their oxytocin level surged, and they reciprocated in kind (unlike when they received the same sum in a random draw). Oxytocin is associated with the better angels of our nature: generosity, cooperativeness, and empathy. (Beware: Five percent of the population doesn't produce oxytocin on stimulus.)