Monday, December 17, 2018

beliefs-based altruism

I wrote a thing about my research for The Conversation, which is a great news outlet where the stories are written by academics and researchers.

The most entertaining thing about it is that the comments so far all call me out for screwing up my translation from American to Australian. I got halfway there - I translated "girl scouts" to "girl guides" (I even consulted with an Australian friend!) but I accidentally left "biscuits" as "cookies".

Whoops, my citizenship will never get approved now :)


Steve said...
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Tom Grey said...

"we also give gifts because we want them to feel cared about, experience joy or a pleasant surprise when receiving it, or to prevent them from feeling disappointed if we fail to give anything."

A bit more complicated, tho related to all 3, is that the expectation of receiving a gift gives pleasure. Just the expectation, before actually receiving the gift. And most of us feel, if not quite know, that the others' gaining pleasure at the expectation of receiving a gift, this pleasure they get also gives us pleasure.

Vera said...

Absolutely! Behavioral economists call this "anticipatory utility" and that's definitely another kind of psychological utility we're altruistic towards. E.g. if I were going to give my partner a weekend getaway, I'd tell him about it a bit in advance so he could look forward to it. (Other people might get more out of the surprise factor than the anticipation and so might not - yet another type of beliefs-based altruism!)