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How to Make Giving Feel Good
"On a fine summer morning in Vancouver, British Columbia, a graduate student approached passersby with a box of envelopes and an unusual request: "Are you willing to be in an experiment?" If people said yes, she asked them how happy they were, got their phone number, and handed them one of her mysterious envelopes. When people opened the envelope, they found a five dollar bill, accompanied by a simple note. For some of them, the note instructed: Please spend this $5.00 today before 5 pm on a gift for yourself or any of your expenses (e.g., rent, bills, or debt). Others found a note that read: Please spend this $5.00 today before 5 pm on a gift for someone else or a donation to charity. In addition, some people got similar envelopes, but with a 20 dollar bill rather than a five. Armed with this extra bit of cash and their instructions about how to spend it, people went on their way. That evening, they received a call asking them how happy they were feeling, as well as how they had spent the money. How did their purchases affect them? This article shares the answer...