This quiz is backed by science and will reveal your kindness profile.
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Considering how much discord we see on a daily basis, it might be hard to believe that humans are inherently compassionate creatures.

Of course we have self-centered inclinations, but if you look at human nature before it’s impacted by the outside world, you’ll see that our impulse is often to be altruistic.

Back in 2006, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany studied infants to see what they would do when they were confronted with adults who needed help completing basic tasks. In almost every instance, the infants would offer what assistance they could to the struggling adults. For example, if the adult dropped a clothespin when hanging clothes on a line, the infant would almost always pick it up and hand it back to them.


Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash

This helpful behavior can also be seen in young chimpanzees, but not nearly as readily or as consistently as in human babies. This suggests that altruism is a more human trait.

But it’s not just a cool part of being human – our inclination to be kind and selfless often benefits us directly in return.

And that’s not only according to one little study — evidence of the mental and physical benefits of altruism have been seen across a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines. Take it from science educator and creator of the PBS series BrainCraft, Vanessa Hill.

“I was always fascinated with why people act the way that they do,” says Hill.

Before becoming a science show host, Hill studied psychology and biology at the University of South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and worked in science education and outreach at Australia’s national science agency.

She decided to start making her own science education videos because she wanted to help a wider audience “understand things about themselves that they never realized before.” Her mission dovetailed nicely with PBS, so they worked together to create BrainCraft, which is now in its fourth season.

Photo via Vanessa Hill. Used with permission.

Having done her own deep dive into the science of altruism, Hill found that we actually have a system built into our brain that recognizes when we do something selfless.

“Neuroscientists have identified circuits in the brain that underlie altruistic behavior,” she explains. “When we’re kind, we have a brain circuitry that rewards that.”

So the more we perform altruistic acts, the more often we get a boost of happiness — or oxytocin as scientists might call it —and the better we feel in both mind and body.

Sounds pretty great, right?

What’s more, kids will likely stick with kind behavior if it’s encouraged from an early age. However, their unique personalities will dictate how it manifests in them.

Believe it or not, there are actually several different types of altruism that humans exhibit.

There’s pure altruism, which is giving solely for the benefit of others without expecting anything in return. There’s pseudo-altruism, which is giving with the expectation of getting something back (even if you’re not doing it consciously). There’s egoism, which is doing good things for yourself (like self-care). And there’s nurturing altruism, which means doing kind things with the goal of inspiring others to pay it forward.

Think you know which type you are? Take our sweetness quiz to find out!

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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The Holderness family has made quite a name for themselves creating fun parody songs, but they may have just outdone themselves. As the world awaits the premiere of the filmed version Hamilton's original staged production on Disney +, the Holdernesses have released a "Hamilton Mask-up Parody Medley" that perfectly captures inane mask-wearing debates in the musical mastery of Hamilton.

As of now, it's only been up for six hours and has already been shared more than 35,000 times. Hamilton fans love it, recognizing familiar tunes such as "Aaron Burr, Sir," "My Shot," and "You'll Be Back." But even people who have never seen or heard Hamilton before will appreciate the cultural commentary on mask-wearing—an issue that has the U.S. struggling as it attempts to manage a pandemic in a highly individualistic society. As the video points out, public health isn't a partisan thing, and mask-wearing to protect others certainly shouldn't be something that angers people.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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