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Good Deeds Uplift You

Posted Feb 15 2010 12:00am

A new study shows that seeing someone else do a good deed appears to inspire you to do the same by making you feel uplifted. The positive, uplifting emotion that makes people feel good and may inspire them to help others is known as “elevation. In an experiment, researchers recruited volunteers who watched a “neutral” video clip of scenes from a nature documentary or a clip from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in which musicians thanked their mentors. Also in a second experiment, participants watched one of the previous two clips or a third clip from a British comedy. Afterwards, a research assistant said she was having trouble opening a computer file connected to the study, and told the volunteers that they were free to leave, but as they exited she asked the participants if they would be willing to fill out a boring questionnaire for another study. Volunteers who watched the Oprah Winfrey clip spent almost twice as long helping the assistant as those who watched the other clips.

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