People are actually nice by default, Stanford researcher says

As we head into the 2016 presidential race for real and all the mud slinging, the negative ads, the disrespectful political discourse that surrounds American politics, it’s easy to lose faith in humanity.

So here’s some feel-good research to help vaccinate yourself from all that.

It turns out that people are actually kind by default, says Emma Seppala, science director for the Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Research shows that “being kind is actually our first response. It is our first automatic tendency,” she says.

“So when you give people only a few seconds to make a decision about whether they will be fair or not, whether they will share or not, whether they will be kind or not, their very first impulse is to do it,” she says.

So why do people often act less-than-nice?

We believe in “survival of the fittest.” And clearly, sometimes people do have ulterior motives.

Plus, sometimes people fear that being kind will be misperceived as having an ulterior motive and that gives us second thoughts about acting nice, Seppala says.

Here’s a full but short explanation of her research. And please, have a nice day!

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