For all those dismayed by scenes of looting in disaster-struck zones, whether Haiti or Chile or elsewhere, take heart: Good acts – acts of kindness, generosity and cooperation – spread just as easily as bad. And it takes only a handful of individuals to really make a difference.
In a study published in the March 8 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Harvard provide the first laboratory evidence that cooperative behavior is contagious and that it spreads from person to person to person. When people benefit from kindness they “pay it forward” by helping others who were not originally involved, and this creates a cascade of cooperation that influences dozens more in a social network.
Continue reading ‘Pay it Forward’ Pays Off