The adage “giving is better than receiving” appears to hold true based on new scientific research recently published in the journal Psychological Science and reported by Medical News Today.

According to the said research conducted by Adam Grant of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Jane Dutton of The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, thinking about the things that we have given rather than focusing on those that we have received makes us more inclined to pass on kindness.

Curious about how personal reflection can encourage good social behavior, Grant and Dutton launched a series of experiments. One of these consisted of two groups of participants selected from different fundraisers. The first group was asked to write about what they feel upon receiving donations, while the second was asked to reflect on their experiences in helping and contributing to other people. The researchers then observed the two groups, listing the number of fundraiser phone calls both have made per hour in a span of two weeks.

Results showed that the group who contemplated about giving had a 29 percent increase in their calls, while those who wrote about receiving had no reported changes. Grant and Dutton believe that thinking about imparted kindness makes people feel that they are “benefactors," which motivates them to give themselves to a cause even more, whereas reflecting about received benefits makes people feel that they are indebted to others, causing the ball of goodwill to get stuck in their court.


During “me” time, why not ponder a bit about the things that you’ve done for others instead of those that others have done for you? Although being grateful is a good thing, it’s important to know that kindness shouldn’t stop with you--you have to pass it on.

(Photo by Snickup via

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