Brain and Behavior, Mindset

Giving: The Happiest Gift of All

Research now offers scientific evidence for accuracy of the age-old-adage, “it is better to give than to receive.” In a delightfully Christmas-themed post this past week, Science Daily shared the good news of research results soon to be published by the Association for Psychological Science. Researchers conducted two experiments designed to measure self-reported feelings of happiness following episodes of giving or episodes of receiving.

The first experiment included 96 university students who were rationed $5 per day to either give away or spend on themselves, in exactly the same way every day for five consecutive days. The second experiment was conducted online, with over 500 ‘players’ in a word game who were awarded a nickel for every win, either to keep or donate to charity. In both situations the participants expressed similar levels of happiness at the start of the experiment, with the ‘giving’ participants maintaining a level of happiness while the ‘getting’ participants reported declining levels of happiness.

Researchers evaluated several possibilities of alternate explanations, yet statistically maintained the outcome of enduring happiness as a result of giving.
What a beautiful scientific confirmation regarding the true joy of Christmas… Giving is the happiest gift of all!

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