A Pay-It-Forward Attitude Makes It Easier to Ask for Help
Paying it forward — helping others in their time of need — may boost your confidence if you've had to ask for help in the past, and more likely you'll ask for help when you need it in the future.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
We're sometimes reluctant to ask for help or assistance when faced with a problem. The feelings we're left with are usually something close to incompetence. But there's an easy way to bounce back. The Research Digest has summarized a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology that has found helping others can allow people to regain their confidence and sense of independence.
The study was comprised of 87 participants who were split into two groups to solve a series of difficult puzzles. One group received hints that pointed participants in the right direction when they got stumped on a problem, allowing them to retain some of their autonomy in figuring out the puzzle. The other group was given outright solutions to the puzzles — what the researchers called “dependency-oriented” hints.
By the end of the exercise, the latter group felt unhappy about having to seek help, rating themselves as less competent. Whereas the group given hints had greater feelings of self-worth, but still a little let down that they needed help to solve some of the problems.
In the next part of the study, researchers asked the participants to solve another round of puzzles and to help make hint cards for the ones they solve correctly. Both groups seemed to get a boost of confidence writing the hint cards. However, the group that initially received the "dependency-oriented" cards saw the greatest gains from this pay-it-forward exercise.
The researchers write:
“After paying help forward, participants felt more self-competent than before helping, and this effect was more pronounced among former recipients of dependency-oriented help. These results show that helping forward can negate the psychological threat associated with receiving help.”
It's important to note that the participants were told that they would be helping others later on in the study. A factor that the researchers believe encouraged the participants to use the hint cards in the first place. Perhaps if people adopted a "pay-it-forward" attitude in life, they may be more apt to ask for help.
Read more at Research Digest.
Photo Credit: Reddy Aprianto/Flickr
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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