Science Has Proven It’s Better To Give Than Receive

It’s always said that it’s better to give than to receive something, but these researchers wanted to prove it – and did.

By DAVID on December 21, 2018
(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Not only does science say it’s better to give than receive, but they say the “high” of giving lasts longer than the “high” of receiving. And I’ll be totally honest – I can vouch for that. I love seeing the way people react to things I give them. It really makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Ok so maybe it’s not really science, but the research was done. There’s a phenomenon called “hedonic adaptation.” That’s basically the rate at which we return to a “normal” level of happiness after experiencing some sort of emotional response to something. How they did the research was like this. The researchers were Ed O’Brien from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Samantha Kassirer of Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. They gave participants 5 dollars every day for 5 days. The participants were instructed to use the money on the same thing, every day. Some participants were told to buy something for themselves, and others were told to spend it on someone else. Tip jar, donation, etc.

The participants who spent the $5 on someone else reported at the end of the study a steady day-to-day happiness level. But – interestingly – the ones who spent the money on themselves actually reported a decline in happiness over the course of the study. Another similar test was done online with a word game. Participants won $.05 per round, and could either give it away or keep it. The results were similar in both tests. There’s more information in the study, seen over here. Are you happier when you give something to someone else?

Around the site