Studies on behavior of people receiving help: Shame & Reciprocity

post by Moritz9 · 2020-06-25T14:06:11.709Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · EA · GW · No comments

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I recently wondered if there are good studies on how people behave when they receive help. Especially long-term. I think when it comes to relief & aid organizations helping large populations over a longer period of time this becomes especially relevant.

Since reciprocity is ingrained in most humans, receiving might lead to stress and unhappiness. Do people receiving help feel shame/guilt/gratitude?

How does their behavior change when they are dependent on donations and are receiving help for a substantial period of time? Does it impact their behavior after aid is no longer necessary?

And also: How can you teach a person that receiving help is not at all shameful and gratitude is not necessary, because life impacting factors are often 'unfairly' distributed depending on location, economical & social factors.

But without making that person somewhat 'hateful' or unhappy by realizing how unfair this world can be?


I hope you get what I am trying to say.

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answer by jkmh · 2020-06-25T18:05:58.109Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Reading and following through reference links in the Wikipedia for "Reciprocity" might be a good start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_psychology)

I had trouble finding much else Googling things like "science of guilt".

Are you wondering if the possible negative effects of shame/guilt could cause more harm than help in certain scenarios?

I also wonder if help coming from "institutions" helps lower any feeling of guilt for recipients, because it's less personal? Receiving help from "Organization X" seems easier to accept than receiving help from a face with a name who seems to be sacrificing time/resources for you.

comment by Moritz9 · 2020-06-27T04:49:32.521Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yeah, I couldn't find much either.

"Are you wondering if the possible negative effects of shame/guilt could cause more harm than help in certain scenarios?"

Not necessarily more harm, but measured but a lifetime, perhaps. In the personal development of individuals, feelings of unworth, guilt or shame play huge roles and lead to unfulfilled lifes and less self-initiative.

Receiving help from organizations definitely seems easier to accept, I agree. However organizations also create problems like dependency or entitlement, which reduces self-sufficient behavior.

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