What inspires humans to display acts of generosity? Economists, psychologists and philosophers have pondered this question for millennia. If one assumes that human behavior is primarily motivated by self-interest, it seems illogical to willingly sacrifice resources for others.
In an attempt to solve this paradox, some experts have theorized that giving satisfies a desire to boost one's standing in a group. Others have suggested it fosters tribal cooperation and cohesion — a key element in mammal survival. Yet another explanation is that we give only because we expect to receive something in return.
The real answer, a study suggested Tuesday, may be much simpler: Giving makes us happy.
Scientists conducted an experiment with 50 people at a lab in Zurich who reported on their own happiness levels after acts of generosity. Consistently, they indicated that giving was a feel-good experience.