Do you believe that you are a kind, generous, and moral person? Me, too!
But guess what? It turns out the we often aren’t as generous as we think we are. Cornell University professor of psychology David Dunning, and graduate student Nicholas Epley, conducted a series of experiments to discover how good we are at predicting how kind, generous, and moral we really are.
Two of their experiments specifically tested our generosity.
- 1. The Daffodil Days Experiment: 250 students were asked, “At the upcoming fundraiser for the American Society, how many daffodils would you buy? What percentage of your peers will buy flowers for charity and how many, on average, will each buy?”
What were the results? “More than eight out of 10 students polled said they would buy flowers (on average, two flowers each) but they expected that their peers would not be as generous, predicting 56 percent would buy (an average of 1.5 flowers apiece). Three days after the daffodil sale, the same students were asked: How many charity flowers did you actually buy? Only 43 percent had helped the cancer society, buying, on average, 1.2 flowers each. ” http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/01/3.29.01/holier_than_thou.html
- 2.The Can You Spare a Dime Experiment? Thirty-eight high school and college students attending Cornell’s summer session were invited to participate in a fictitious experiment for which they were paid five $1 bills. The students were then asked to predict how much of their payment they would donate. They said they’d donate about half of their $5. How much did they think their peers would donate to charity? Only $1.80.
When given a real opportunity to donate their money to charity, anonymously, by placing money in sealed envelopes, each student donated on average only $1.53.
We think we’re generous. We would really like to buy two flowers to support cancer research and donate half of our cash. But when the rubber meets the road, we don’t donate as much as we thought we would or think we should.
Who you really are and who you really want to be is a generous person. Give, because then you’ll be as generous as you think you are.
Are you as generous as you think you are?
If not, maybe that’s because donating is too hard. Make it easy, affordable, and powerful by joining a virtual giving circle.