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Generosity, Connection & Happiness By Lani Evans

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About Generosity, Connection & Happiness

Project 2015-01-19 09:42:36 +1300

Do you love generosity and happiness? We sure do!

Traditional wisdom suggests that money can’t buy happiness, but we think it can - it just depends how you spend your money.

International research has found strong links between generosity and levels of happiness. People who give money to others are happier than people who spend money on themselves. It’s not just that happy people give more - giving actually causes happiness.

We want to examine how connection effects this dynamic. Which is more important? Happiness or connection? Which one makes people want to keep on giving?

We're going to run an experiment to find out.

160 awesome participants will be randomly assigned to one of five groups. They will be asked to think about and describe various generous spending, personal spending and connection experiences. They will then chose whether to spend $10 on themselves, on others, or donate anonymously to charity. And we'll be examining their wellbeing all the way through.

Will the people who give money to charity feel the most awesome? Or will it be the people who gave the money to a friend? Or is it the people who took the $10 and brought themselves 2.3 lattes be the winners at life? There's only one way to find out...

By funding this project, we hypothesise that you will be happier. Your money will go to us, so we can give it away to people who will give it away. That's a lot of giving. Nice, huh?

 

Our team consists of...

PhD candidate of awesomeness Jill Hayhurst. Jill is completing a PhD in social psychology, looking at well being, resilience, happiness and connection. When Jill gives lectures, the students applaud. We suspect it's because of the references to cookies, unicorns and her goofy but adorable dog, Giles.

Generosity advocate Lani Evans. Lani likes to organise adventures, run charities and give things away, especially her time. She's a Churchill Fellow, looking at citizen-led philanthropy and trying to work out more ways to connect people to the processes that effect their lives.

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The People Behind Generosity, Connection & Happiness

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Updates

    Because SCIENCE! (part 2)

    09:19AM Fri 20/02/15 on Generosity, Connection & Happiness

    Watch this 2 minute video for a sort-of-related update on why you should donate to us. 

    1. Because generosity is great.

    2. Because science is great.

    3. Because women get less funding, less money and you can help change that by pledging!

    Comment on this update:

    Because Science!

    09:44AM Wed 28/01/15 on Generosity, Connection & Happiness

    One of the reasons I love research is because I want to explore the idea that generosity is a human universal – the idea that almost every single person will derive benefit from giving to others. I’m not technically an optimist (despite being accused of cheerfulness), but I am a scientist. And it’s hard not to get optimistic about the science that’s been examining the relationship between generosity and happiness. 

    In a beautiful and massive study on the topic Lara Aknin and colleagues delved into this idea of a human universal in three different ways. Firstly they looked at data from a 136 countries that showed that giving more personal income away was linked to more happiness in each country. Secondly they showed people who spent time remembering being generous became happier – in Canada, India and Uganda. Finally they showed that when people were asked to buy items for charity they too became happier, even happier than people who had been given money to spend on themselves. 

    There are several reasons why this research is exciting for me.  Aknin showed the link between happiness and generosity through correlation and through causation. Being generous actually caused people to be happier; it’s not just that happy people are more generous. Also, they captured this phenomenon in diverse countries across the world – diverse not just culturally but also financially. Giving away $10 to someone who needs it means very different things to different people. Depending on who you ask it might mean missing out on 2.5 lattes, but a lot of people give up more than a caffeine hit in order to help. Despite the level of sacrifice the outcomes appears to be the same. Because of these massive and consistent psychological benefits (and happiness has a lot of benefits including health, success, and longevity) Aknin and colleagues suggest giving to others is “deeply ingrained in human nature.”

    Cool. 

    Check out Aknin’s research to learn more! Or email me and I can send you this article. Jill.hayhurst@gmail.com

    Aknin, L. B., Barrington-Leigh, C. P., Dunn, E. W., Helliwell, J. F., Burns, J., Biswas-Diener, R., ... & Norton, M. I. (2013). Prosocial spending and well-being: Cross-cultural evidence for a psychological universal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 635.

    Comment on this update:

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      This project was successful and got its funding on 28/02/2015 at 4:31 PM.

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