Remember That Good Action - Deepstash

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How Memories of Kindness Can Make You Happy

Remember That Good Action

Acts of kindness have been proven to make us happier, lower our blood pressure, and promote stronger social connections.
While people do feel good by doing acts of kindness, new research shows that we benefit by just recalling certain acts of kindness done by us in the past.

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Childhood amnesia
Childhood amnesia

On average, people’s memories stretch back no farther than the age of three and a half.

New science suggests that when we move into adulthood, the brain must let go of much of our childhood.

Our earliest memories are forgotten
  • In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud gave childhood amnesia its name. The most commonly accepted explanation for childhood amnesia was that children couldn't form stable memories until age 7 - even though evidence for this idea was lacking.
  • In the late 1980s, experiments revealed that children three and younger keep their memories, although it is limited. At 6 months of age, infants' memories last for a day, and by age 2, for a year. At around age 6, children begin to forget many of their earliest memories.
The early childhood brain

From birth to our early teens, we have far more links between brain cells. The excess brain mass is very adaptable and allows children to learn very quickly.

But the adaptability comes with a price. The large and complex network in the brain is still busy growing and not as capable of forming memories efficiently as in adulthood. Consequently, long-term memories created in our first three years of life are the least stable and prone to be forgotten as we age.

The cognitive dissonance theory

Suggests that holding 2 or more contradictory beliefs at the same time causes people to experience mental discomfort, which manifests as psychological stress. 

And people will always seek to minimize their cognitive dissonance and the discomfort it creates.

The Benjamin Franklin effect has generally been explained using cognitive dissonance theory.

Essentially, this means that when someone does you a favor, they need to be able to justify...

The Benjamin Franklin effect has generally been explained using cognitive dissonance theory.

Essentially, this means that when someone does you a favor, they need to be able to justify it to themself, in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance that might occur from doing something nice for someone that they dislike.

The Benjamin Franklin effect

Is a psychological phenomenon that causes us to like someone more after we do that person a favor: We justify our actions to ourselves, that we did them a favor because we liked them.

But the reverse effect is also true - we come to hate our victims, which helps to explain wartime atrocities.

Using The Benjamin Franklin Effect
  • Remember that the favor matters more than its scope. In most cases, the increase in rapport comes from the fact that the other person does you a favor.
  • Use reciprocity, by performing a small favor shortly before asking for one.
  • After asking for a favor, perform a small favor in return, to increase the likelihood of being helped again.
  • Be realistic with regards to who you asking for favors and what you are asking for.
  • Remember that how you ask for the favor is also important and affects your success rates. In most cases being kind and polite is the ideal.
Facts Related To The Ben Franklin Effect
  • Research shows that being kind to someone increases how much you like that person.
  • Being asked a favor can make one feel acknowledged for their expertise, which can cause them to develop more positive feelings toward the person asking for help.
  • The negative Benjamin Franklin effect happens when people who do something negative to someone will increase the degree to which they dislike that person, in order to justify their negative actions to themselves.
The Benjamin Franklin Effect

A psychological phenomenon that causes people to like someone more after they do them a favor, especially if they dislike the helped person. 

You can use it to benefit and protect yourself when interacting with others.