As part of a survey on generosity, researchers gave 9,300 euros to 200 candidates, giving them the freedom to spend it as they wished. Here’s what happened.
Who has never dreamed of receiving a large sum of money? Everyone, or almost. A fantasy come true for nearly 200 candidates, from 7 different countries. The results of this study on generosity appeared in the journal Sage Journals.
Good in his body, good in his head!
Numerous charitable donations
To carry out this survey, two hundred people from three low-income countries (Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya) and four high-income countries (Australia, Canada, United States and United Kingdom) were selected.
All received $10,000, with the sole condition that they spend all of the money in three months, save nothing and report to researchers affiliated with the University of British Columbia, Yale University and at Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED), how they spent that money.
Half of the candidates also had to regularly share how they used this money on social networks.
Result ? Surprisingly, successful candidates were more likely to give to others, rather than spend on themselves.
The participants thus spent 68% of their money in a “prosocial” way (acts of solidarity, altruism, cooperation or helping others, editor’s note) by, for example, paying for a vacation or a dinner for their loved ones.
On average, they also donated a fifth of their prize pool to charity or other causes.
“For example, a participant from Canada donated $1,200 to an organization that provides construction training to marginalized people so they can enter the workforce, and another participant from Indonesia donated $1,500 to the family of a deceased friend to help cover basic necessities“, emphasize the researchers.
Another notable finding of the study: no difference was observed between the prosocial spending of participants from high-income countries and those from poor countries.
For researchers, these results show that humans generally show generosity even when the stakes are high. Conclusions which, however, deserve to be qualified since, from the start of the investigation, the candidates were aware that they would have to explain the nature of their expenses.