This is a short experiment that we have devised to pull together evidence from a small sample group on the effects of operating outside your natural preferences for kindness.
We’re looking at these questions:
What is the effect on individuals of raising their awareness of kindness?
What effect does acting outside of their usual kindness behaviour have on individuals?
How much do we value kindness?
This is an open experiment, anyone can take part, feel free to invite others – just send them this page.
OK – you’re interested enough to read this far, so here's how it works:
If you’re willing to be a kindness guinea pig there are 3 things that I’d like you to do:
That’s it. Are you game?
Kindness is a behaviour that is fundamental to human social relationships; it’s vital to our success and the formation of social groups.
However, we think that most individuals are habitual in their ‘acts of kindness’ and that most individuals pay, on balance, a low level of attention to kindness compared the effect it can have on wellbeing.
Kindness to Strangers: We tend to be psychologically biased towards our ‘in groups’, people who we have a relationship with, rapport with or rely on. Are we kinder to those in our social group and do we pay more attention to their kindnesses?
We want to mess with your natural behaviour for two days by asking you to consciously alter your behaviour and record the results.
What is the first step if I want to take part?⊕
There is a short questionnaire about your average interactions with other people, your own view of your kindness and your self awareness of kindness – simple.
Please complete it here at the start. Once it’s done, you’re in!
What do I actually do?⊕
Pick any two days in the next few weeks and allocate them for the experiment. It doesn’t really matter which days but ones that feel fairly normal for you and involve a fair amount of social interaction. So two days working in an office and commuting would be great, two days at university would be fine; two days when you plan to stay in the library and read all day or two days of your solo camping holiday aren’t ideal.
Before the two days we will randomly allocate you one of the following Kindness Tasks (see the FAQ below this one) to hold to. You’ll be asked to stick to the same task for the whole two days from when you wake until when you sleep.
What are the two ‘kindness tasks’?⊕
The kindness tasks will be allocated at random. Please stick to your tasks, go about your normal day as you would outside this experiment but stay conscious of your task as much as you can throughout the two days.
Here are the two different tasks:
Seek opportunities to be kind
Live your two days as planned but seek to perform far more acts of kindness than normal. Don’t take two days off work to volunteer in a soup kitchen but aim to complete your ‘normal’ two days schedule while creating as many opportunities to be kind as you can; especially to strangers.
Refuse opportunities to be kind
Live your two days as you normally would but do not take opportunities to help others. You are not actively harming others or being rude but where a situation presents you with the option to help someone, especially a stranger, or not to help them ………don’t!
What evidence do I give?⊕
There are 4 points where you need to record your experiences (as well as the initial questionnaire):
1. Before you go to sleep on Day 1 - journal
2. Before you go to sleep on Day 2 - journal
3. One week after the experiment ends – online survey
4. One month after the experiment ends – online survey
We would like you to journal at the end of each of the two days before you go to sleep. You can do this as a video, voice recording, email or paper journal, whichever is easiest for you.
This experiment is, hopefully, an interesting and enjoyable experience to delve into the effects of kindness.
However your wellbeing takes absolute precedence over our experiment. If at any point while undertaking the experiment you feel that it is causing you distress or significantly effecting your wellbeing please STOP.
We’re not psychologists, we’re curious parties who want to understand a little more about how living in a kinder, more aware, state might help general wellbeing.
If you are distressed at all please contact your GP or professional help and please, please get in touch with us with any worries or queries at all.
When can I take part?⊕
We’re leaving this as an open experiment. It was launched in May 2016 and we’ll take our initial data and examine it in June 2016. However we’ll leave the system running so that anyone can take part at any point, the more the merrier – send this webpage to others to get them to have a go.
Where do I have to be based to take part?⊕
Anywhere that you can interact with someone else. It makes no difference what part of the world you are in – join in!
What happens to the data and results?⊕
This whole experiment is open.
Anyone can take part, if you want to get a copy of the survey or questions please get in touch. We will publish anonymous results and data on this page for everyone to see.
We will not publish any personal data or information linked to individuals without your permission.
As with the whole process if you’re not sure about anything, get in touch richard[at]enterpriserich.co.uk