Random Acts of Kindness More Powerful Than People Realize

A new study finds that it really is the thought that counts when people do good deeds.

Researchers from the Uni        versity of Texas at Austin have found that people who carry out random acts of kindness underestimate how much their actions affect the recipient. Not only does the recipient of a good deed generally feel more positive after these interactions, the study found that they also spread this kindness and generosity to others.

Researchers Amit Kumar from the McCombs School of Business and Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago discovered that good deed “performers” often underestimate how much better recipients feel after their acts. They typically focus on the object or service they’re providing—such as giving a gift or helping someone cross the street. However, the study finds recipients focus more on the feelings of warmth the act evokes.

Simply put, recipients of an act of kindness care more about the thought someone put into this gesture, rather than the gift itself.