In 1970, seminary students in Princeton, New Jersey, took part in an experiment they thought was about career paths of seminarians but was actually about who would stop to help an apparently injured man. While the study directors had hypothesized that priming some students to think about the Good Samaritan would make them more likely to help, there was no significant difference in the actions of students who had or hadn’t read the parable. What mattered was time. Students told to hurry to their destination were much less likely to stop to help a man in pain. Students who had been told they had a bit of spare time for the walk stopped more frequently and offered more substantial help. Overcoming our perception of being starved for time means we can pursue the social behaviors that will help us feel we have time to spare, and this article suggests two strategies for doing so.

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