Here’s why people sacrifice their own self-interest for other people

Washington: According to a new research, we are more likely to share resources with others when we feel like our lives and work is interdependent.

In the research done by Northwestern University and published in Nature Human Behaviour journal, experts say that people are more willing to sacrifice for a collaborator than for someone working just as hard but working independently.

Mary McGrath, the author of the paper said that they found evidence that the collaboration effect operates by creating a sense of indebtedness to the collaborator.

“When thinking about what might be driving the effect, my hunch was that this was driven by a sense of obligation to your collaborator, rather than just some general sense of goodwill, that people felt like they owed the collaborator something,I was surprised by how starkly that was supported when looking into it: Indebtedness really stood out from all the rest of the possibilities,” McGarth said, adding, “Interestingly, collaboration even had a borderline negative effect on saying you were motivated by a desire to do something nice for your partner. In other words, there’s a slight indication that collaboration made you less likely to be motivated by a sense of goodwill toward the other person.”

For example, a politician who has had a generous contribution to his campaign could feel an innate moral compulsion to satisfy a debt to be paid, or a doctor, who has received a research grant from a pharmaceutical company might feel a similar urge to give something back.

The researchers noted that although impulse to repay a collaborator may be pro-social in many scenarios but giving preferential treatment to those who have contributed to your cause could have problematic implications for ethical behaviour.

McGrath concluded, “Taken together with the work suggesting that collaboration in our evolutionary past may be responsible for our developing a distinctly human sense of justice and fairness, we arrive at this surprising implication: the development of human morality and our vulnerability to corruption potentially springing from the same source.”