Where We Are Shapes Who We Are
By Adam Alter
It’s comforting to believe that there’s an essential version of each of us — that good people behave well, bad people behave badly, and those tendencies reside within us.
Nearly all of the letters dropped near uncrowded dorms — residences where comparatively few students lived on each floor — reached their intended recipients. In contrast, only about 6 in 10 of the letters dropped near crowded dorms completed the journey.
Apparently, the students in high-density housing, where everyone was packed close together, felt less connected to their college mates and this apparently dampened their generosity.
Later, when the researchers asked a different collection of students to imagine how they might have responded had they come across a lost letter, 95 percent of them said they would have posted it regardless of where they were living.
Read the full article as published in The New York Times.
Adam Alter is an Assistant Professor of Marketing with affiliated appointment in the Psychology Department.
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