What are the characteristics of a humble person
A student has broken his leg and is in bed. Which of his fellow students spends the most time bringing over notes and study materials? One who is especially compassionate? Or someone who is not busy at the moment and therefore has time? Or is it rather the fellow student who recently benefited from the injured student's help and could now return the favor? It is certain that such factors influence a person's willingness to help. Yet another criterion that has so far been neglected is apparently also decisive: modesty. "It seems that humble people, on average, are more helpful than conceited or assertive people," says psychologist Wade Rowatt of Baylor University, Texas (Journal of Positive Psychology, online).
Rowatt and his colleagues used questionnaires to investigate how modest or obsessive their subjects were. Such questionnaires are a proven method of determining a person's personality. It also takes into account that most people attribute themselves to respected traits rather than negative ones. Three experiments with more than 300 participants showed that the more modest a test person was, the more helpful they were. On the other hand, those who, according to the questionnaires, were considered to be addicted or conceited showed less inclination to help their injured fellow students. "Modesty is a positive quality that also brings benefits," concludes study leader Rowatt.
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