68926
When people were behaving generously, areas of the brain related to reward, happiness and empathy became active.
When people were behaving generously, areas of the brain related to reward, happiness and empathy became active.

Strong Evidence Links Generosity to Happiness

Strong Evidence Links Generosity to Happiness

Treating yourself might seem like the perfect solution when you are feeling a little down but according to new research, splashing the cash on someone else could make you feel happier in the long run.

Exploring the connection between generosity and happiness, researchers at the University of Zurich divided 50 participants into two groups – experimental and control – who were each told they would be given 25 Swiss francs each week for the next month, Independent reported.

While the experimental group was told to commit to spending their money on other people by buying gifts or taking them to dinner, the control group was told to spend the money on themselves.

Scans conducted by the researchers revealed that neurons in the area of the brain associated with generosity, the temporo-parietal junction activated neurons in the ventral striatum, which is associated with happiness.

This process was highly active in the experimental group who acted generously.  

In each trial, the participants were also given an option they could either accept or reject which meant someone else would gain money while they lost it.

And, while the financial hit varied, it always involved some kind of personal sacrifice.

The participant’s happiness was also measured using a subjective happiness scale before and after this exercise with researchers finding that the experimental group was more likely to make generous choices than the control group. They also reported a greater increase in happiness.

The data also showed that when people were behaving generously, areas of the brain related to reward, happiness and empathy became active.

“We find that a public pledge to be generous efficiently boosted generous behavior and happiness in experimental relative to control participants, who had committed to spend money on themselves,” the researchers wrote.

What is surprising about this experiment was that giving away a small amount or a lot of money had the same effects on happiness. ‘Interestingly, changes in happiness were driven by the commitment to be generous as such, independent of the absolute monetary amount spent on others,’ said the researchers in the paper.

“Our study provides behavioral and neural evidence that supports the link between generosity and happiness,” they said.

Short URL : https://goo.gl/iBnLHN
  1. https://goo.gl/GJB38D
  • https://goo.gl/1noksc
  • https://goo.gl/1xfMDJ
  • https://goo.gl/72zVa5
  • https://goo.gl/hWYvGk

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Trending

Googleplus