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Cooperative Behavior Is Contagious

It's a good to hear that the World is still not all selfish. A study has proved that Cooperative behavior is contagious and it spreads from person to person to person. When people benefit from kindness they "pay it forward" by helping others.

The research done by Fowler and Christakis show that when one person gives money to help others in a "public-goods game," where people have the opportunity to cooperate with each other, the recipients are more likely to give their own money away to other people in future games. This creates a cooperative environment among a group of people who were strangers but still were bound to cooperate.

The effect persists, Fowler said: "You don't go back to being your ''old selfish self.'' As a result, the money a person gives in the first round of the experiment is ultimately tripled by others who are subsequently (directly or indirectly) influenced to give more. The network functions like a matching grant," Christakis said.

The multiplier in the real world may be higher or lower than that found in the lab but it sure proves the contagious cooperative behavior.

Fowler said, "personally it's very exciting to learn that kindness spreads to people I don't know or have never met. We have direct experience of giving and seeing people's immediate reactions, but we don't typically see how our generosity cascades through the social network to affect the lives of dozens or maybe hundreds of other people."

This study, proves this and also kindles the hope that generosity and cooperation is still not lost.

Read more about: work culture behaviour
Story first published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 11:41 [IST]