Does paying it forward really work? According to a study published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, all it takes is one act of generosity to set off a series of good turns. James Fowler, an associate professor of political science at the University of California-San Diego joined forces with Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a medical sociology professor at Harvard Medical School, to look into just how far-reaching one person’s generosity is.

Gathering a bunch of volunteers who didn’t know each other, the researchers conjured up a game they called public-goodx, in which the participants were given a choice to give other players money to foster good relations. The game was designed in such a way that each participant could only give money to the same person once. This was to rule out any issues the issue of having familiarity be responsible for the act of generosity.

The simple experiment then revealed that those who were given money in an earlier game were much more willing to help others than those who were not. The study also found out that the effects of one person’s initial contribution could lead up to three more acts of benevolence. “Paying it forward” really does have its merits.

However, while one good turn deserves another, there must first be someone to trigger the chain reaction. What’s stopping you from being that person? Check out the slide show below for 10 easy ways to pay it forward.


Looking for more stories on sharing the love? Check these out on Female Network:

(Photo from Pay It Forward courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

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