How did your friend get you to babysit her kids for the weekend, or your sister talk you into hosting the next book club meeting? They probably asked when you were anxious about a work project or stressed about making an impending mortgage payment.
Stress, however, isn’t traditionally associated with altruism. When self-discipline wanes, such as when you are hurried, hungry or distracted, you are less likely to be helpful to strangers (if you’re late for an appointment, you’re probably not stopping to help the person who just dropped the contents of his briefcase). That makes intuitive sense: helping someone you are unlikely to ever see again when you feel least in control of your own life isn’t likely to be productive.
“In communal relationships, the habitual behavior is to take care of each other’s needs,” says lead author Francesca Righetti, assistant professor of psychology at VU University in Amsterdam.
Read the whole story: TIME