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The implications of altruism and egoism for happiness

by Krista Anderson

  Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Author's Review   (2009-05-16)


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by krista15an

I wrote the thesis, so obviously, I liked it.  I randomly foud this link, but was disappointed to see the thesis was not published to the site.  The abstract for the paper is below.  If you are interested in getting a copy of the thesis you may email me at 

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Ethical theories touting altruism or egoism as a means to happiness make real empirical claims that should be examined with empirical evidence. I designed and conducted an experiment to test whether making altruistic or egoistic choices leads to greater happiness in a simple, well-controlled laboratory task. In my experiment some university students were given the choice to donate or keep money that they had earned (altruist vs. egoist) whereas other students were constrained to donate or keep their earnings by the design of the experiment. Measures of the students’ happiness levels before and after the experiment were also taken. The results showed that participants who acted altruistically (either by choice or by experimental design) were no more or less happy than those who acted egoistically. Three key shortcomings are identified and offered as potential explanations for failure to detect differences in happiness levels between the altruists and egoists.

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