Seeing someone perform a virtuous deed (especially if they are helping another person), makes us feel good, often eliciting a warm, fuzzy feeling in our chest. This positive, uplifting emotion, known as “elevation,” might make us feel great, but is it enough to get us to go out and perform good acts ourselves? According to new findings reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the answer may be yes.
My response has been close to that described. Or more like for the next few days I entertain the idea that maybe humanity is not doomed. As I read further in the details of the experiment I realized there is a downside. There is an element of monkey see, monkey do. See someone doing something, the participants copy the behavior to some extent. Which would relate to mob behavior – such as some of the early tea bagger meetings, rowdy crowds at sporting events and stampedes at nightclubs.
Everyone is probably burned out on the J. D. Salinger, but this is a funny first person account of how his fan mail was handled, My adventures answering J.D. Salinger’s mail.
What was missing from this equation was, of course, Salinger himself. Normally, I was told, he phoned to check in once in a while, sometimes sending the whole office into a tizzy with a bizarre request, for copies of his royalty statements from 1986 or press clippings from 1974 or some such thing. During my first months on the job, however, he remained a comfortably abstract concept.