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      Universals and cultural diversity in the expression of gratitude


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          Gratitude is argued to have evolved to motivate and maintain social reciprocity among people, and to be linked to a wide range of positive effects—social, psychological and even physical. But is socially reciprocal behaviour dependent on the expression of gratitude, for example by saying ‘thank you’ as in English? Current research has not included cross-cultural elements, and has tended to conflate gratitude as an emotion with gratitude as a linguistic practice, as might appear to be the case in English. Here, we ask to what extent people express gratitude in different societies by focusing on episodes of everyday life where someone seeks and obtains a good, service or support from another, comparing these episodes across eight languages from five continents. We find that expressions of gratitude in these episodes are remarkably rare, suggesting that social reciprocity in everyday life relies on tacit understandings of rights and duties surrounding mutual assistance and collaboration. At the same time, we also find minor cross-cultural variation, with slightly higher rates in Western European languages English and Italian, showing that universal tendencies of social reciprocity should not be equated with more culturally variable practices of expressing gratitude. Our study complements previous experimental and culture-specific research on gratitude with a systematic comparison of audiovisual corpora of naturally occurring social interaction from different cultures from around the world.

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          Gratitude and prosocial behavior: helping when it costs you.

          The ability of the emotion gratitude to shape costly prosocial behavior was examined in three studies employing interpersonal emotion inductions and requests for assistance. Study 1 demonstrated that gratitude increases efforts to assist a benefactor even when such efforts are costly (i.e., hedonically negative), and that this increase differs from the effects of a general positive affective state. Additionally, mediational analyses revealed that gratitude, as opposed to simple awareness of reciprocity norms, drove helping behavior. Furthering the theory that gratitude mediates prosocial behavior, Study 2 replicated the findings of Study 1 and demonstrated gratitude's ability to function as an incidental emotion by showing it can increase assistance provided to strangers. Study 3 revealed that this incidental effect dissipates if one is made aware of the true cause of the emotional state. Implications of these findings for the role of gratitude in building relationships are discussed.
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            A little thanks goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior.

            Although research has established that receiving expressions of gratitude increases prosocial behavior, little is known about the psychological mechanisms that mediate this effect. We propose that gratitude expressions can enhance prosocial behavior through both agentic and communal mechanisms, such that when helpers are thanked for their efforts, they experience stronger feelings of self-efficacy and social worth, which motivate them to engage in prosocial behavior. In Experiments 1 and 2, receiving a brief written expression of gratitude motivated helpers to assist both the beneficiary who expressed gratitude and a different beneficiary. These effects of gratitude expressions were mediated by perceptions of social worth and not by self-efficacy or affect. In Experiment 3, we constructively replicated these effects in a field experiment: A manager's gratitude expression increased the number of calls made by university fundraisers, which was mediated by social worth but not self-efficacy. In Experiment 4, a different measure of social worth mediated the effects of an interpersonal gratitude expression. Our results support the communal perspective rather than the agentic perspective: Gratitude expressions increase prosocial behavior by enabling individuals to feel socially valued.
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              An Adaptation for Altruism


                Author and article information

                R Soc Open Sci
                R Soc Open Sci
                Royal Society Open Science
                The Royal Society Publishing
                May 2018
                23 May 2018
                23 May 2018
                : 5
                : 5
                : 180391
                [1 ]Department of Anthropology, Universidad San Francisco de Quito , Diego de Robles, Quito 170157, Ecuador
                [2 ]Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics , Wundtlaan 1, Nijmegen 6525XD, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian, and Scandinavian Studies, University of Helsinki , Vuorikatu 3A, Helsinki 00100, Finland
                [4 ]Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University , Macquarie Walk, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
                [5 ]Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York , Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK
                [6 ]Department of Pragmatics, Institute for the German Language in Mannheim , R5 6-13, Mannheim 68161, Germany
                [7 ]Department of Linguistics, The University of Sydney , John Woolley Building A20, Science Road, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
                Author notes
                Authors for correspondence: Simeon Floyd e-mail: sfloyd1@ 123456usfq.edu.ec
                Authors for correspondence: Giovanni Rossi e-mail: giovanni.rossi@ 123456helsinki.fi
                Authors for correspondence: N. J. Enfield e-mail: nick.enfield@ 123456sydney.edu.au

                Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4088612.

                Author information
                © 2018 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 9 March 2018
                : 17 April 2018
                Funded by: Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research;
                Award ID: Grant #016.154.087
                Funded by: Academy of Finland;
                Award ID: Grant #284595
                Funded by: European Research Council;
                Award ID: Grant #240853 to N. J. Enfield
                Funded by: Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation of Ecuador;
                Award ID: Prometeo Fellowship Programme
                Funded by: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics;
                Award ID: Language and Cognition Department
                Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                May, 2018

                gratitude,reciprocity,assistance,collaboration,social interaction,cross-cultural


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