Generosity research offers new insight into how children share

Felix Warneken

Current consensus among psychologists is that children under about five years of age don’t consider merit when sharing with other children, but Felix Warneken has recently found that children begin to share according to merit as early three years old. See Warneken’s article here.

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The generous marriage

Bradford Wilcox

New York Times reporter Tara Parker-Pope just did a story on some Science of Generosity research conducted by Brad Wilcox, who is finding that generosity is an integral part of a happy marriage. The whole story is here.

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Wall Street Journal story on generosity research

Ariel KnafoPulitzer prize winning Wall Street Journal reporter Kevin Helliker recently did a story about early results from Ariel Knafo’s project, “The Family Cycle of Kindness and Generosity.” Knafo and his group discovered a genetic idiosyncrasy in young children that is associated with a low proclivity toward generosity.You can read the story here.

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How cooperation spreads in social networks

Nicholas Christakis

In a paper recently published in the PNAS, Sci Gen researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler found that members of social networks are influenced by fellow group members’ contribution behavior in future interactions with others who were not involved in the initial interaction. To find out more about cooperation contagion read,  “Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks.”

 

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What causes parents to transmit generosity?

Mark Wilhelm

In October co-Investigator Ye Zhang presented the paper “What Motives Cause Parents to Transmit Generosity?” (co-authored with Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm) at the Conference on the Economics of the Family in Paris.  The conference, hosted by the Institut National d’Etudes démographiques, the Paris School of Economics, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, and Université de Cergy-Pontoise, honored Nobel-Prize
winning economist Gary Becker upon the 30th anniversary of the publication of his book A Treatise on the Family (work that led economists into the study of the family). Continue reading

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How good is good enough?

OK… So What Now? is a series of first person investigations into the moral and ethical challenges of leading an examined life. Each episode centers around one dilemma from our modern life, and features interviews with guests who have some stake in that dilemma. The second episode asked “How good is good enough?”

Think about every dollar you’ve given away–to a person begging on the street, to a cause you see advertised on television– how much good did that money do? How much did you think about your decision? This episode of OK… So What Now? offers three perspectives on generosity and the choices we make. Two of those perspectives come from Science of Generosity researchers Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm and Felix Warneken.

 

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Being happy at work

Sonia Lyubomirsky

We’ve recently been taking a more detailed look at our pilot study data and tried to identify the behavioral consequences of practicing positive activities at work. According to some preliminary analysis two interesting relationships seem to be have emerging.

First, we examined peak behavioral rhythm hour and initial behavioral rhythm–in other words, the highest point of movement during the day and one’s movement when first arriving at the office. Continue reading

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How one sociologist developed an interest in generosity

Christian Smith

For most of my career, I never thought about generosity as interesting to study, except perhaps as one component of broader “prosocial” outcome measures. Regarding financial giving, for instance, issues around charitable donations, philanthropy, and non-profit budgets always struck me as boring topics. Then, about four years ago, the immense potential power for good of generous voluntary financial giving dawned on me. Continue reading

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Doing good, one network at a time

Nicholas Christakis

How we are connected affects the properties of an entire society, generally for good.  This aspect of network science is what got us excited about the field in the first place.  Working in areas such as collaboration, innovation, and health, it was clear that interaction typically fosters our well-being and productivity.  But what about doing good, in addition to doing well?   Continue reading

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Does marital generosity flow outward?

Bradford Wilcox

My interest in the relationship between generosity in marriage and generosity outside of marriage was first stimulated by the graduate work of Young Kim, who recently received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Virginia. Based upon his life experiences in South Korea and his reading of the seminal work of Edward Banfield on “amoral familism” in Italy, he wondered if familism in the U.S. was linked to lower levels of civic engagement. Continue reading

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