A research group from Osaka University has confirmed that acts of kindness really are recognized and rewarded by those around you. Assistant lecturer Onishi Kenji, who is a specialist in the field of Developmental Psychology, led the research at the university which monitored the responses of infants to acts of kindness. The same research group announced its results in America’s online scientific journal “PLOS ONE”, dated August 7.
As part of the latest study, the daily behavioral patterns of six and seven-year-olds living in Osaka were observed. After one child lent his toy to another, the reactions from surrounding children were recorded. The result was that the levels of kindness that other children showed increased from 0.4 to 5.58 times per hour. Increases in body contact and attempts at making friends also rose twofold, suggesting that indirect social reciprocity in humans starts from early infancy.
The university’s results suggest that in a group environment, performing selfless acts that are in the interest of others is believed to promote cooperation within the group and create a relaxed atmosphere.
It has already been proven in past studies that chimpanzees and other primates respond to one act of kindness with another, but the process in humans is thought to be a little more complicated. However, from the latest research it was deduced that an act of kindness serves to increase a person’s reputation within a group and in turn encourages those around them to show similar kindness. It is hoped that the results from the research will help scientists understand more about how humans came to evolve the way they did.