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J Psychol. 1975 Nov;91(2d Half):215-21.

Mood and helping.


In order to test (a) whether helping someone puts the helper in a better mood and (b) whether people in a good mood are more likely than controls to help with a task maintaining their positive mood but no more likely to help with a task leading to a negative mood, 80 female undergraduates participated in a study in which they (a) had an interaction with a confederate (C) designed to put them in a good or neutral mood, (b) rated their mood, (c) rated some neutral pictures, and (d) were requested to rate some potentially elating or depressing pictures. Ss who were induced to help C or who were given candy by her rated themselves as feeling nicer than these having a more neutral interaction. Neither their interaction with C, the type of pictures they were ased to rate, nor their self-reported mood, with the exception of happiness, was significantly associated with number of pictures rated or time spent helping. Those rating the depressing pictures became more depressed than those rating the cheerful pictures. It was suggested that the lack of significant findings might be due either to the fact that the effect of a good mood on helping declines over time or to the fact that rating pictures was so enjoyable that it was not considered altruistic.

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