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Pay It Forward: Gratitude in Social Networks

  • Yen-Ping Chang


  • Yi-Cheng Lin
  • Lung Chen


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    Based on the framework of the broaden-and-build theory (Fredrickson in Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 359(1449):1367, 2004a , b ), we proposed that the emotion of gratitude generates upstream reciprocity (UR, which is helping an unrelated third party after being helped) by broadening the beneficiary’s perspective toward others and thus making the beneficiary represent the benefactor and newly encountered strangers in the same social category. Furthermore, by inducing one UR after another, gratitude may lead to a chain/network of UR and strengthen the structure of organization. We named the effect the integration function of gratitude and demonstrated it by applying the social network analysis technique to eighteen small groups. Implications of the integration function are discussed in terms of self-identity, social exchange theory, and quality of life. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 (October)
    Pages: 761-781

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:13:y:2012:i:5:p:761-781
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    1. N. Lesca, 2011. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00640604, HAL.
    2. R. Henrion, 2005. "Book Review," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 345-346, 06.
    3. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
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