If you needed your faith in humanity restored today, there's good news: A new study found that people would rather lose money than inflict pain on another person — even if that person is a stranger.
According to a paper published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, participants in a study were willing to give up money in order to prevent a hidden stranger from being administered a painful electric shock.
For the study, researchers grouped participants into pairs, but prevented them from seeing each other. One was randomly selected to be the "decider," meaning she controlled the number shocks given to herself or her partner. The catch is that the shocks cost money, and the decider always got to keep the money. So it shouldn't be a big deal to dish out more mild shocks to an anonymous partner, right, if the decider collects either way?
Science Magazine explains the (slightly confusing) study design, along with the surprising results: