We seem to underestimate how nice it is to receive kindness from others. Amit Kumar of the University of Texas at Austin and Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago gave people opportunities to act in various kind ways, both with strangers and with people they knew. Each time, those who were kind to someone else underestimated how much happier recipients would feel. And it didn’t seem to matter what type of kindness they offered or whether the recipient was known or not by the giver. “Performers of an act of kindness can miss out on the fact that simply engaging in a warm act is meaningful for recipients beyond whatever they’re giving them,” says Kumar. In another experiment, people who received an act of kindness gave substantially more to another person than those who’d picked out their own gift. Participants in all the experiments felt a greater increase in happiness when they offered kindness than when they received it. To Kumar, this is even more reason to act with kindness in our everyday lives.

Read Full Story