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Not So Random Acts: Science Finds That Being Kind Pays Off

“Kindness is much older than religion. It does seem to be universal,” said University of Oxford anthropologist Oliver Curry, research director at Kindlab. “The basic reason why people are kind is that we are social animals.” We prize kindness over any other value. When psychologists lumped values into ten categories and asked people what was more important, benevolence or kindness comes out on top, beating hedonism, having an exciting life, creativity, ambition, tradition, security, obedience, seeking social justice and seeking power, said University of London psychologist Anat Bardi, who studies value systems. “We’re kind because under the right circumstances we all benefit from kindness,” Oxford’s Curry said. When it comes to a species’ survival “kindness pays, friendliness pays,” said Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare, author of the new book Survival of the Friendliest.

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