What an exciting time we’re living in—when behavioral scientists are confirming that we are inherently imbued with Basic Human Goodness.
Hard-Wired for Giving
Elizabeth Svoboda, Science writer; author, Has contributed to Wall Street Journal, Discover, Popular Science,Psychology Today and the New York Times, and authored What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness – Contrary to conventional wisdom that humans are essentially selfish, scientists are finding that the brain is built for generosity.
The Altruistic Brain
Donald W Pfaff Ph.D Neuroscientist, Association of American Publishers, 2005, uses molecular, neuroanatomical, and neurophysiological methods to study the cellular mechanisms by which the brain controls behavior. Synthesizing the best research on empathy and altruism he makes the case that the birthplace of good human behavior is literally in our bodies—our brains, hormones, and genes. Human beings are wired to behave altruistically.
Nice Guys Finish First,– By David Brooks, Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times since 2003. Currently a commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Emory University neuroscientists found that the act of helping another person triggers activity in the caudate nucleus- which is the same sort of pleasure as achieving a personal desire.
The Science of Generosity: Grounded in the scientific research of scholars in various academic disciplines and employing various innovative research methods, the operation of generosity is studied, in order to understand better the causal social mechanisms that generate and obstruct generosity.
The Neuroscience of Self-Compassion
Kelly McGonigal PhD, an award-winning lecturer and health psychologist fuses findings in the fields of medicine, neuroscience, and psychology with compassion and mindfulness for making self-awareness and compassion the basis for meaningful change.
The Healing Power Of Doing Good
The Health & Spiritual Benefits Of Helping Others by Allan Luks and Peggy Payne, 1991 Allan Luks is considered among the top experts on volunteerism, and how helping others can benefit one’s emotions and physical health. Conventional wisdom has held that when we help others, some of the good we do flows back to us. That satisfaction, has always been thought to be largely emotional. Current research shows that helping others regularly produces significant health benefits, similar to benefits from exercising.
The Social Contagion of Generosity
Nicholas Christakis Sociology, Harvard University American sociologist and physician known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic and biosocial determinants of behavior, health, and longevity examines how Generosity is a key predicate for the formation and operation of social networks, a fact only recently beginning to attract attention from network scientists, social scientists and biologists.
Why Kindness Heals, by James R. Doty, M.D., Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and Founder and Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. There is an ever enlarging body of science that demonstrates that kindness, compassion and empathy have a profound effect on healing. Spanning psychology, neuroscience, and even economics the research reveals that as a species our default mode is not one of self-centeredness but that we are wired to connect and when we connect our physiology improves for the better.
The Family Cycle of Kindness and Generosity
Ariel Knafo, Psychology, Hebrew University, professor of developmental social psychology in the Psychology Department. One of his main lines of research concerns the development of personality and particularly altruism, empathy and other aspects of pro-sociality. Delineating the biological and environmental processes that contribute to the development of a generous disposition, he examines how it intertwines with parenting to create a family cycle of kindness and generosity.
The Radical Power of Humility,
Nipun Mehta – Founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy, speaks about the importance of humility. Google released a searchable database of 5.2 million books published since 1500. Researchers discovered that, between 1960 and 2008, individualistic words increasingly overshadowed communal ones. The usage of “kindness” and “helpfulness” dropped by 56%, even as “modesty” and “humbleness” dropped by 52%. Phrases like “community” and “common good” lost in popularity to “I can do it myself” and “I come first.” We moved from We to Me. Our language reflects our lives. Without humility, our overblown sense of entitlement disconnects us. It increases narcissism and reduces empathy. That may be good for the economy but certainly not for societal well-being.
Acts of Kindness: Key to Happiness for Children and Teens
Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D, Fellow at the institute for the Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University In Santa Barbara, CA; Co-founder of National ParentNet Association. Studies showed that kids were happier when they performed acts of kindness. The study demonstrated that being kind to other people benefits the giver.
How to Make Kindness the Foundation of School Culture,
Laura White – Manager of the Changemaker Schools Network, a project of Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. Christa Talbot taught her 4th and 5th grade class about kindness and incorporated her lesson on the playground with her students – using empathy as a factor that resulted in solutions-oriented environment.
Sesame Street mission is to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Their research studies are designed to illuminate the critical needs of children and families. A National Survey of Kindness & Kids was recently conducted to provide parents and teachers the tools and resources they need to help instill kindness and empathy in our children.
Making Caring Common survey of 10,000 teens, 4 in 5 said their parents are more concerned with achievement or happiness than caring for others.