The nightly news is full of horror stories, and rightly so, if ratings is the payoff. Sometimes we seem to get lucky, and tune in at the right time to hear something inspirational. These stories are soon lost in the noise…
What if the focus shifted instead to spreading stories of good will and virtuous acts?
Research released by the University of British Colombia has discovered that exposure to remarkable acts is connected to one’s urge to “change the world.”
Food for thought.
Article Source: CBCnews
Good news begets better people.
That was the conclusion of new research released Tuesday by the University of British Columbia, that found people with a strong sense of “moral identity” were inspired to do good when they read media stories about Good Samaritans’ selfless acts.
According to lead author Karl Aquino, who studies forgiveness and moral behaviour issues, four separate studies found a direct link between a person’s exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world.
He said media reports could potentially play a crucial role in the mobilization of history makers if less attention was paid to negative coverage.
“Our study indicates that if more attention was devoted to recounting stories of uncommon acts of human virtue, the media could have a quantifiable positive effect on the moral behaviour of a significant group of people,” said Aquino, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at UBC.
“The news media have a tendency to celebrate bad behaviour, from Charlie Sheen’s recent exploits to articles that focus the spotlight on criminal and other aberrant behaviour.”
The findings, to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by the American Psychological Association, suggested people were not likely to act on reports that were merely positive.
“These things have to be beyond just everyday goodness,” Aquino said in an interview. “We help our neighbours all the time, we volunteer for things — we’re talking here about really exceptional acts of virtue.
“Acts that require enormous sacrifice, that put people at risk for the sake of others.”
Two groups in study
In one of the studies, researchers conducted an experiment with 63 male and female subjects. One group was first assigned to complete a word search that including words with moral connotations, such as “compassionate,” “honest,” and “kind.” A second group completed a word search comprised of morally neutral words of everyday objects.
Participants were then randomly assigned to read one of two news stories, both about positive human interactions.
However, only one recounted an act of uncommon goodness, describing a 2006 shooting at an Amish schoolhouse. Days after the incident, parents offered forgiveness and financial assistance to the widow of the man who shot their children.
The second story recounted a couples’ experience of seeing a beautiful sunset.
Those exposed to the story of the Amish community’s uncommon goodness gave 32 per cent more money to charity than those who read about the sunset.
In a second study, Aquino and his team were surprised to discover even a music video could inspire people to give generously — and not to the people you’d typically expect.
Read the rest of the Article, HERE.
Article Credit: The Canadian Press