Adults are more compassionate and are up to twice as likely to donate to charity when children are present, according to a new study from Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Over eight experiments and more than 2,000 participants, the researchers asked adults to describe what typical children are like. After focusing on children in this way, participants subsequently indicated higher motivations towards compassionate values, such as helpfulness and social justice, and they reported greater empathy with the plight of other adults.
In a field study, which built on these findings, the researchers found that adult passers-by on a shopping street in Bath were more likely to donate to charity when more children were around relative to adults.
When no children were present and all passers-by were adults, a student research team from the University of Bath observed roughly one donation every ten minutes. But when children and adults were equally present on the shopping street, adult passers-by made two donations every ten minutes.
Release date: 05 May 2021
Source: University of Bath