When a stranger asks for money, people choose not to give for a variety of reasons, even if their hearts want to — perhaps they’re not sure what the money will be used for, or perhaps they’d rather give to an organization that helps people in need. Or maybe they just don’t want to part with their cash.
But a new study in the journal Psychological Science suggests that there could be a hidden cost to not being compassionate — it might make you feel a little less moral.
“Compassion is such a powerful emotion. It’s been called a moral barometer,” study researcher Daryl Cameron, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a statement.
The researchers had study participants look at 15 images of people, including victims of war, crying babies and homeless people. The study participants were split up into three groups: the first was told to try and suppress feelings of sympathy, the second was told to try and suppress feeling of distress, and the third was told to just feel whatever emotions came to them.
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