What Makes us Generous?

Author: Christian Smith

Why are people generous? Why are some humans much more generous than others? What factors tend to promote or inhibit generosity? It turns out that generosity makes a big difference in the quality of human personal and social life, both for the givers and receivers. So the better we understand it, the better we will be able to think about and practice it, toward greater human flourishing. Read More

The Really Big Questions: Why Do We Share?

Author: Dean Olsher

On this episode of The Really Big Questions, host Dean Olsher explores how humans may have been shaped by evolution to naturally share, donate and cooperate. On this episode of The Really Big Questions, host Dean Olsher explores how humans may have been shaped by evolution to naturally share, donate and cooperate. Read More

The Science of "Paying it Forward"

Author: Milena Zvetkova

One morning in December of 2012, at the drive-through window of a Tim Hortons coffee shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a customer paid for her order and then picked up the tab for the stranger in the car behind her in line. Then that customer paid the bill for the following customer in line — and so on, for the next 226 customers, in a three-hour sequence of spontaneous generosity. Read More

Generosity Amid Want

Author: Bina Shah

In Pakistan, poverty is not sanitized; it’s on full display. What helps save the society is a culture of giving, interwoven into the fabric of how people live and worship. The World Giving Index for 2013, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation from Gallup polling data, reported that 38 percent of all Pakistanis donated money to charity in 2012, and that 51 percent found some way to help a stranger. For those Pakistanis with money to donate, it’s nearly impossible to decide which cause is most deserving; after all, the great mass of the population could be labeled “less fortunate.” It’s also hard to know whom to trust. Read More

Seven Science-Backed Reasons Generosity is Good for Your Health

Author: Amanda Chan

Giving of yourself -- whether it be your time, energy or money -- isn't just a boon to those you're helping. A wealth of research shows that generosity can also have benefits for the receiver, ranging from a better outlook at your job, to more years of life. Check out these science-backed reasons to make generosity a regular part of your day. Read More

Scientists Are Finding That We Are Hard-Wired for Giving

Author: Elizabeth Svoboda

The Darwinian principle of "survival of the fittest" echoes what many people believe about life: To get ahead, you need to look out for No. 1. But the latest science shows that, in fact, we are also hard-wired to be generous. Read More

Penn Biologists Show That Generosity Leads to Evolutionary Success

Author: Unger Baillie, Katherine

With new insights into the classical game theory match-up known as the “Prisoner’s Dilemma,” University of Pennsylvania biologists offer a mathematically based explanation for why cooperation and generosity have evolved in nature.

Their work builds upon the seminal findings of economist John Nash, who advanced the field of game theory in the 1950s, as well as those of computational biologist William Press and physicist-mathematician Freeman Dyson, who last year identified a new class of strategies for succeeding in the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Read More

New Studies Link Gene to Selfish Behavior in Kids, Find Other Children Natural Givers

Author: Susan Guibert and JP Shortall

Most parents would agree that raising a generous child is an admirable goal — but how, exactly, is that accomplished? New results from the University of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity initiative, which funds generosity research around the world, sheds light on how generosity and related behaviors — such as kindness, caring and empathy — develop, or don’t develop, in children from 2 years old through adolescence. Read More