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Toddlers Are Happier While Giving Away then Receiving: Study

Update Date: Jul 01, 2012 05:24 PM EDT

It is a part of human nature to feel good about helping others, and this quality develops in children at an age as young as 2 years, says a research.

According to a new study co-authored by three psychologists at the University of British Columbia, toddlers are happier when they give, rather than when they receive.

According to the study, toddlers aged two and below are happier giving away their treats to others then giving away one that does not belong to them.

This is the first study to reveal children are happy giving away more than receiving.

"People tend to assume that toddlers are naturally selfish," said Dr. Lara Aknin, one of the authors of the study, reported Health Day.

"These findings show that children are actually happier giving than receiving."

For the study, all the participant toddlers were given some treats.

After some time, they were asked to give away one of these treats to a puppet. Also, they were given an extra treat and asked to give it away to the puppet. The expressions and reactions of the children while giving away the treats were recorded and analyzed by experts who concluded that children were happier while giving away their own share than while giving away the treat that did not belong to them.

 "What's most exciting about these findings is that children are happiest when giving their own treats away," said Aknin, lead author of the study. "Forfeiting their own valuable resources for the benefit of others makes them happier than giving away just any treat."

This finding ascertains that the joy of giving and helping is deeply woven into human nature.

The study was published in PLoS One, an on-line journal from the Public Library of Science.

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