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Thursday, October 2, 2014

In a Study, Text Messages Add Up to a Balance Sheet of Everyday Morality

By Benedict Carey
The New York Times
Originally posted September 11, 2014

Committing a small act of kindness, like holding the door for a harried stranger, often prompts the recipient to extend a hand to others, but it comes at a cost, psychologists have long argued. People who have done the good deed are primed to commit a rude one later on, as if drawing on moral credit from their previous act.

Now, in a novel survey of everyday moral behavior, researchers have tested whether that theory holds up in real life. It does, though the effects appear small.

The findings come from a survey of everyday morality in which researchers tracked people’s moral judgments and attitudes at regular intervals throughout a typical day, using text messages.

The entire article is here.