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.
Discovery #6: Throw Cosmic Uncertainty into the Mix
There are times when we achingly want something—a plus-sign on a pregnancy test, a miracle drug to live up to its name—yet have no control over the outcome. We're extremely generous in these moments, finds a study led by Benjamin Converse, PhD, at the University of Virginia. After job-fair attendees, wannabe moms, standardized-test takers and other hopefuls reflected on the results they so dearly desired, they offered significantly more time to volunteer work and money to charities compared to a control group. "Rather than waiting passively to learn their fate, people may act as if they gain fate's favor if they do good deeds proactively," the researchers write. Bringing out the best in karma-seekers is easy: Just provide any opportunity to do good.