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Further Studies on the Effect of Feeling Good on Helping

Paula F. Levin and Alice M. Isen
Sociometry
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Mar., 1975), pp. 141-147
DOI: 10.2307/2786238
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786238
Page Count: 7
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Further Studies on the Effect of Feeling Good on Helping
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Abstract

In an attempt to clarify and extend the findings of an earlier study (Isen and Levin, 1972), two experiments investigated the effects of a person's positive affective state on his or her subsequent helpfulness to others. The studies were conducted in divergent locations of a large eastern city, and the subjects differed in ethnic and socio-economic characteristics. As in the earlier investigation, "good mood" was induced by the discovery of a dime in the coin return of a public telephone. The dependent measure in the present experiments, however, was willingness to mail a sealed and addressed letter which had been left at the telephone, apparently by accident. Both stamped and unstamped letters were used. This measure of helping was designed to demonstrate the existence of a relationship between feeling good and helping in situations which do not involve interaction with a person, and to rule out an intepretation of the earlier findings in terms of differential attention to the person in need. Results supported the prediction that those finding a dime would be more helpful, even though all subjects saw the letter and even though the help did not involve interpersonal interaction.

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