Title: Does social connection turn good deeds into good feelings? On the value of putting the 'social' in prosocial spending
Authors: Lara B. Aknin; Elizabeth W. Dunn; Gillian M. Sandstrom; Michael I. Norton
Addresses: Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, Canada ' Psychology Department, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada ' Psychology Department, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada ' Harvard Business School, Marketing Unit, Soldiers Field Road, Boston, Massachusetts, 02163, USA
Abstract: When are the emotional benefits of generous behaviour most likely to emerge? In three studies, we demonstrate that the hedonic benefits of generous spending are most likely when spending promotes positive social connection. Study 1 shows that people feel happier after giving more to charity, but only when they give to someone connected with the cause. Studies 2 and 3 show that the emotional rewards associated with giving to friends or acquaintances are greatest in situations that facilitate social connection. Thus, social connection may be important for turning good deeds into good feelings, and maximising connectedness between givers and recipients may enhance the emotional payoff of charitable initiatives.
Keywords: happiness; money; prosocial spending; social connections; well-being; donations; charitable giving; warm glow; social relationships; gift giving; good deeds; good feelings; emotional benefits; generous behaviour.
International Journal of Happiness and Development, 2013 Vol.1 No.2, pp.155 - 171
Available online: 03 Aug 2013Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article