Elevation Leads to Altruistic Behavior
Psychological Science, vol. 21, no. 3, p.315-320.
By Simone Schnall, Jean Roper and Daniel M.T. Fessler
Feelings of elevation, elicited by witnessing another person perform a
good deed, have been hypothesized to motivate a desire to help others.
However, despite growing interest in the determinants of prosocial
behavior, there is only limited evidence that elevation leads to
increases in altruistic behavior. In two experiments, we tested the
relationship between elevation and helping behavior. Prior to measuring
helping behavior, we measured elevation among participants in an
elevation-inducing condition and control conditions in order to
determine whether witnessing altruistic behavior elicited elevation. In
Experiment 1, participants experiencing elevation were more likely to
volunteer for a subsequent unpaid study than were participants in a
neutral state. In Experiment 2, participants experiencing elevation
spent approximately twice as long helping the experimenter with a
tedious task as participants experiencing mirth or a neutral emotional
state. Further, feelings of elevation, but not feelings of amusement or
happiness, predicted the amount of helping. Together, these results
provide evidence that witnessing another person’s altruistic behavior
elicits elevation, a discrete emotion that, in turn, leads to tangible
increases in altruism.
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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, May 03, 2010