Intuitive Generosity

Spontaneity Sparks Altruism

What makes people put “we” ahead of “me”? To find out, a group of Harvard University researchers enrolled thousands of people to play a “public good” game in which subjects were divided into small groups, given some money and the choice to keep it or contribute it to a common pool that would grow and benefit the entire group. Researchers discovered that those that made their decisions quickly were more likely to contribute to the common good.

Taking it a step further, the researchers applied time pressure to the decision-making process. They then found that those faced with making a quick decision most often chose the “we” option, while those that spent more time deliberating ended up giving less money to the group kitty.

The Massachusetts research team, which tested thousands of online worldwide participants, concluded that spontaneity and intuition guide people into rapid acts of kindness.

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