Study finds humble people are the most helpful to others

May 24, 2012

In a three-part research project involving 310 students at Baylor University, UMaine psychology lecturer Jordan LaBouff and colleagues found that people determined to be humble were more willing to donate time and resources to a hypothetical student in need. The results held true even when researchers controlled the study for potential influencers, such as empathy, agreeableness and other personality traits.

LaBouff says the finding is particularly surprising since nearly 30 years of research on helping have demonstrated that the situation — not the person — tends to predict whether someone in need will receive assistance.

The research builds on a growing body of evidence that humility is an important trait that results in a variety of pro-social and positive outcomes, says LaBouff, the lead author of an article on the study, published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

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