Getting the Most out of Giving: Pursuing Concretely-Framed Prosocial Goals Maximizes Happiness
AbstractAcross six field and laboratory experiments, participants given a concretely-framed prosocial goal (e.g., making someone smile, increasing recycling) felt happier after performing a goal-directed act of kindness than did those who were assigned a functionally similar, but more abstractly-framed, prosocial goal (e.g., making someone happy, saving the environment). This effect was driven by differences in the size of the gap between participants' expectations and reality: Compared to those assigned to pursue an abstractly-framed prosocial goal, those assigned to pursue a concretely-framed goal perceived that the actual outcome of their goal-directed efforts more accurately matched their expectations, causing them to experience a greater boost in personal happiness. Further, participants were unable to predict this effect, believing that pursuing abstractly-framed prosocial goals would have either an equal or greater positive impact on their own happiness.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 2129.
Date of creation: Apr 2013
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This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-06-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2013-06-16 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HAP-2013-06-16 (Economics of Happiness)
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