How to Seem More Generous Than You Really Are

In their study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers asked people (both online and in real-life settings) how they would handle the decision to choose between two items of uneven value, like a nice granola bar and a cheap one, like (I assume) one of those really chewy Nutri-Grain ones that get all soggy and crumbly as soon as you open them. Rather than give themselves the better option, the researchers found that most people chose to abdicate the decision to the other person in the real or imagined scenario. And this is where it gets good: when most of those other people learned that their partners had given up first choice, they were apparently so touched that they gave away the better option. The researchers hypothesize that because abdication is seen as generous, the person to whom the choice is given feels that they too must also be generous.

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