Need A Favor? Ask A Humble Person For Help.


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Humble people are more likely to help strangers than arrogant people: Photo by Ed Yourdon

At some point, everyone needs a helping hand. Be it from a flat tire or a big move, there are times when we need other people to help us out. New research from Baylor University shows that a humble person will be more likely to assist you than an arrogant person. The research, entitled “Humble persons are more helpful than less humble persons: Evidence from three studies,” is a combination of three separate studies into the helpfulness of individuals.

Humility vs. Self-Interest

In an episode of a popular television program (Friends), a character (Joey) once stated that every action is selfish in nature. He challenged another character (Phoebe) to find a selfless act, which she couldn’t do. Decoded Science asked lead author Dr. Jordan LaBouff about this phenomenon in the three studies conducted. He replied,

Over the course of the last 30 years or so, many researchers (Dan Batson and Robert Cialdini chief among them) have been interested in the question of altruistic or egoistic (selfish) motives for helping behavior.  These three studies demonstrate the people who are humble (i.e., people who have a relatively accurate view of themselves, who are intellectually open, and who are relatively less self-focused than others) are more likely to help a peer in need.  More importantly, it leads to the possibility (in study three) that people who are dispositionally humble may be particularly more likely to help when the motive to help is more altruistic.  That is, humble people were more likely to help in situations designed to avoid potential selfish motives.

In the three studies, the participants used self-assessment to declare themselves as humble or arrogant. Using the self evaluations, researchers conducted three separate studies to determine the amount of help a person would provide.

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