The Power of the Positive: Reading About Selfless Acts Inspires People to Do Good

As humane educators and citizens working for a better world for all, it can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on all the suffering, cruelty, violence, hatred, and destruction that seems omnipresent in our world. After all, we stress that one of the first steps in creating positive change is to educate ourselves and others, so we have to learn about the bad stuff. And, if we pay attention to the news at all, we know that it's filled with stories of death, disgrace, destruction and other depressing topics. But it's essential to remember that the fourth element of humane education is to offer positive choices, so that people feel empowered to act in ways that support their deepest values. And new set of studies out of the University of British Columbia confirms the importance of accentuating the positive.

According to CBC News researchers in four separate studies "found a direct link between a person's exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world." Lead author, Karl Aquino, emphasizes the valuable role that media could play in reporting on extraordinary acts of goodness and heroism. He said, "Our study indicates that if more attention was devoted to recounting stories of uncommon acts of human virtue, the media could have a quantifiable positive effect on the moral behaviour of a significant group of people."

These studies are an important reminder to humane educators and activists that sharing positive stories and alternatives with people is just as essential as offering them accurate (and often disheartening) information.

~ Marsha

(h/t to the Good News Network)

Image courtesy of sniderscion via Creative Commons.

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