The first study to link personality traits--rather than the situation at hand--to the likelihood of helping others found that people who are more humble tend to step up more than others.
If you're in need of a little help from a friend, your humbler acquaintances may be the ones to call on, according to a new study. People who are more humble tend to step up to help others more than people who tend toward arrogance. This is the first study to link personality traits -- rather than the situation at hand -- to the likelihood of helping others.
The researchers designed a series of experiments to measure participants' personality traits and then tested their willingness to lend a helping hand. The first one relied on self-reports from college students to assess both personality and and how likely they were to assist others. The more humble they rated themselves, the more helpful they said they were. But since self-reports can be unreliable, the researchers followed up with more objective means of measuring personality traits.
In the second part of the experiment, the researchers asked the
participants questions and used the answers to rate them in various personality characteristics.
Then the participants listened to a recording about a (fictitious)
student who had suffered an injury and couldn't attend class. They
students who ranked higher in humility were also more likely to donate
their time and resources to helping the fictitious student.