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Being generous makes you happy? Only in the short term
WHAT pays for altruism, and in particular the generosity of the economic in terms of satisfaction and joy? If you make a small donation of money can give us happiness, especially in the moment, after a short period of time, this feeling of well-being might vanish. And, on the contrary, having money in his pocket there gratificherebbe more. A study conducted by two economists of the University of Bonn and the University of Harvard in the Usa, Armin Falk, and Thomas Graeber, who analyzed the behavior of a sample of almost 600 people called to choose how to allocate a possible win. The sense of the research is not to show that sometimes we are selfish, but simply to highlight that the idea that helping others always bring happiness may be wrong. The results of the research have been published in The Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences.

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The study: give or get? The researchers analyzed the choices and perception of well-being and joy of a group of 591 people faced the choice of whether to “give” or “to have”, in economic terms. In particular, the volunteers were asked to decide whether to participate in a prize game in which they would have won 350 euro to donate to charity to save lives or to play a lottery with a prize of a lower figure, equal to € 100, to keep for himself. Subsequently, the authors measured, by means of questionnaires standard, the level of happiness of the participants in two different moments: immediately after you learn if they have won or lost, and at the distance of a month from the outcome.
Generous, happy but sad, after The survey showed that 6 out of 10 people have initially chosen, in the case of winning, to give the money to those who need it: hence, instinctively, we are on average more likely to promote the next. The result reveals that in the short term, immediately after learning the result of the lottery, those who chose to allocate the money to a charity is much happier, while those who held for him the 100 euros, despite the victory, it is more sad. But ricontattando the volunteers after one month, the result of the search is reversed: those who chose the lottery of charity and won, thus giving the figure to save lives, is much less happy. While all those who have obtained a payment to himself - even those who have won money for himself despite having expressed an initial intention to give it away – have said they have a high level of happiness.
The generosity always makes you happy? Numerous previous research had linked behaviors, altruistic and happiness and increase the joy in your life, you also have to be more unselfish, and to adopt behaviors intended to help others, even economically. But it is not always and for everyone as well, and this new study would be the test. Our results, the authors write in the conclusions of the paper, suggest that people may counterbalance the short-term benefits obtained from a behavior prosociale with costs delayed.

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How to interpret the result, But this does not mean that one who derives joy from a personal gain to be less altruistic, or that, necessarily, the generosity will lead us to long to less satisfaction. The study depicted a particular situation, studying the relationship between happiness and reward for the economy, and in happiness, in the short and long term, is regulated by a number of different elements, which change over time. At the beginning dominates the idea of “giving”, that in and of itself, give a pleasure, a reward, even if not monetary, as well as a positive self image. A month later, however, the good action tends probably to be less central in our thoughts, and derive less satisfaction, while, if we have earned money and, above all, if we're still spending$, this satisfies the most.

A reason for this, so it might be useful to do this to ourselves the ability to donate money or help others with other gestures (not necessarily economic), even when the action is now far. Because of the generosity – and happiness – you can also train.

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