Bags of goodwill… acts like delivering shopping can do wonders for us all
They have launched a huge public science project — The Kindness Test — along with Radio 4 and want you to get involved.
Psychologists at Sussex University came up with the online quiz.
It seeks to discover how we view kindness, common examples, barriers to goodwill and how niceness is valued at work.
The quiz takes in how attitudes and experiences may vary across different groups and how kindness might relate to people’s health, wellbeing, and other experiences.
Questions include what someone’s last act of kindness was, where it happened and who was responsible, as well as experiences in the workplace, neighbourhood and wider community.
Professor Robin Banerjee, head of psychology at the university, said: “Recent research has begun to shine a light on the powerful impacts of kindness on people and communities, but there is so much we still don’t know.
“This major survey is designed to help us learn more about kindness in our lives, how people’s attitudes and experiences vary across different groups, and how kindness relates to our mental health, wellbeing, and other social and psychological experiences.”
It follows previous tie-ups between the BBC and academics including The Touch Test, The BBC Loneliness Experiment and The Rest Test.
Author and Radio 4’s All In The Mind presenter Claudia Hammond launched the study yesterday.
Hammond worked with Sussex University on the questions for the quiz
She worked with the university, where she is a visiting professor, on the questions.
The results will be analysed by experts and announced on the station in February – and used further afield in academic articles and research talks.
Recent research has begun to shine a light on the powerful impacts of kindness on people and communities, but there is so much we still don’t know
Prof Hammond said: “This feels like the perfect moment to explore the topic of kindness in depth.
“A lot of us have found the pandemic has led us to think more about what really matters to us. In my view, kindness is not something soft, but something that can make a real difference.
“There has been a lot of research in recent years in psychology and neuroscience that shows that being the recipient is nice. There is now a wealth of research which show that there are lots of benefits for the person being kind.
“There is an action in the reward system of the brain when we do something kind. That warm glow we feel is reflected in what we feel in the brain.”
The test, which takes about 30 minutes, asks you to rate and describe acts of kindness and feelings when receiving or giving them.
● Use single words to describe your experience of kindness and what comes to mind when you experience kindness.
● Are people more or less kind than earlier in your lifetime?
● What factors might discourage people from being kind, ie: lack of time, might be seen as weakness or may be misinterpreted?
● When was someone last kind to you – in the last hour, day, week or month, over a month or year ago?
● What represents an act of kindness? A gift, saying something kind, providing helpful information, carrying bags, holding open a door or giving up a seat?
● Was the last person who was kind to you a family member, spouse or partner, friend, acquaintance, boss, colleague, teacher or stranger?
● Describe how it felt to receive the act of kindness.
● When was the last time you were kind? How did you feel afterwards?
● How many strangers have started a social conversation with you in the last seven days?
● On a scale of 0-10, how much do you think people can be trusted?
● Do you think people try to take advantage of you or are being fair?
● Do you give money to homeless people in the street?
● In the last month, have you seen people open a door for someone, give up a seat, lend/give money, a helpful reminder, pick up rubbish?
It doesn’t cost a thing… but means the world
Acts of kindness have made heartwarming stories of late – especially the generosity of plumber James Anderson, which was recognised around the world.
James fixed the boiler of a 91-year-old terminally ill woman and refused to take any money for it. The receipt sent to her daughter said: “No charge for this lady under any circumstances.
“We will be available 24 hours to help her.”
Christine Rowlands posted a photo of the invoice on Facebook, which went viral.
She referred to James, 53, from Burnley, Lancs, as “an angel dressed as a plumber”.
‘Angel dressed as a plumber’… James Anderson
The Daily Express has been highlighting the kindness of heroes like James during the pandemic after inviting readers to send in nominations for Newsangels.
They include retailer Mamun Ur-Rashid, 55, who got an MBE in 2019 for his services to business and Glasgow’s Govan community after he helped 40 families set up their own shops.
Last year, the married father of three offered a 10 percent discount to elderly shoppers and NHS workers at his Premier store in Linthouse, Glasgow.
And he waived the minimum £1,000 monthly commission he would have got from the operator of the ATM machine outside his store with a planned 99p charge.
Mamun and his staff also helped 50 vulnerable people with free food deliveries.
Meanwhile, Dennis and Linda Williams started a fundraiser that helped 150 families and raised £13,000.
Linda, 55, who started out making free sandwiches in the first lockdown at her shop in Edinburgh, set up a crowd-funded hardship fund offering up to £50 for people struggling with their bills.
Linda and Dennis, 65, also contributed £1,000 of their own money.
You can take part in the quiz — which does not have to be completed in one go — here.