The Terry Project on CiTR #54: Christmas and the Psychology of Human Kindness

On the latest episode of the Terry Project on CiTR–we look at four experiments about Christmas and human kindness. What impact can a Christmas tree have on us subconsciously? Just by being in the room? Are humans more likely to pass on generosity or spite? What’s the evolutionary rationale for generosity? And how is generosity connected to happiness?

 iTunes  | RSS

Part One: The Christmas Tree Experiment

Psychologist Stephen Wright describes his experiment on Christmas Trees and group identity. It inspired angry letters and condemnation by some media outlets. Find out why he thinks public institutions need to think carefully before they decorate.


Part Two: Paying It Forward

Kurt Gray and Andrew Delton discuss the psychology of human kindness. Is giving rationale? And why are we spiteful? You can check out their papers here and here.


Part Three: Generosity and Happiness

Ashley Whillans from UBC’s Social Cognition and Emotion Lab talks about the links between prosocial giving and happiness.




Related Topics


Sam Fenn is the Executive Producer and Host of The Terry Project on CiTR. You can follow Sam on twitter (, check out his instagram ( and read more of his writing at