Close up of two people with outstretched hands touching

Social Science of Helping Others

Sociology and psychology studies show that supporting people by complementing their knowledge and talents has better outcomes in comparison to times when we impose our help upon others. This applies with parenting, between couples, and in times of conflict involving strangers.

Psychologists Eli Finkel and Grainne Fitzsimons write:

“although much remains to be investigated, the findings thus far suggest that providing help is most effective under a few conditions: when the recipient clearly needs it, when our help complements rather than replaces the recipient’s own efforts, and when it makes recipients feel that we’re comfortable having them depend on us.”

– Eli Finkel and Grainne Fitzsimons

Read their article.

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