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Samantha Green

English 112-07
June 20, 2016
Professor Intawiwat
Annotated Bibliography
Works Cited
Ricard, Matthieu. Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World.
New York, NY: Little, Brown, 2015. Print.
Matthieu Ricards book is a slightly overwhelming, highly informative, tell-all about altruism
that makes a case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion for not just ourselves, but our
society as a whole. He discusses, in depth, the different types and definitions of altruism and
different theories for its possible causes. He gives guides for how to cultivate altruism and
discusses contrary forces that detract from altruistic behavior such as narcissism, hatred of
yourself, violence and selfishness. Ricard explains how we as humans can build a more altruistic
society through cooperation, fighting inequality and voluntary simplicity.
In this book, Matthieu Ricard provides excellent background on altruism, its effects and
causality. He says, If we continue regarding ourselves as individuals driven chiefly by selfinterest, greed and antisocial motives, we may keep in place systems based on reward and
punishment, thus perpetuating a distorted and wretched version of the kind of humanity we
aspire to. He discusses the benefits of mentoring, describing how not only does the child on the
receiving end of teaching make progress, but the teacher does as well. Because of the books
highly informative nature, I will probably be referencing it a lot in my essay. Ricard comes at
altruism from not only a personal and spiritual perspective, but a scientific one. He lists his
references as well. Therefore, I can pull data directly from the sources, if need be.
Matthieu Ricard has been dubbed the happiest man in the world by the media after
scientists, whove studied his brain scans over the course of 12 years, showed that he has an
unusual capacity for happiness. He left a career in cellular biology to become a Buddhist monk.
He is a bestselling author and a speaker who has been celebrated at the World Economic Forum
at Davos, the NGH forums at the United Nations and at TED, where his talks about happiness
have been viewed by over seven million people. He has been praised by the likes of Arianna
Huffington and Jane Goodall.
Miller, Kimberly D., et al. "Inclusive Volunteering: Benefits to Participants and
Community." Therapeutic recreation journal 36.3 (2002): 247. ProQuest. Web. 30 June 2016.
This pilot study conducted by Kimberly D. Miller attempts to show the benefits of altruism to
special needs youth and young adults. The idea behind the study was to have disabled students
and non-disabled students volunteer together and monitor the outcome. The facilitators consisted

of one faculty member and four graduate students studying therapeutic recreation. They did the
study over two academic semesters.
Ten disabled volunteers ranging from the ages of 12-18, and in disability from moderate
to severe cognitive impairments, were selected from a school for special needs children by the
schools administrators. Eight of the students participated in both of the semesters and 2 students
participated in one semester each. The non- disabled students ranged in age from 19-37 and were
pulled from a course entitled Recreation Services with Underrepresented Groups. One of the
undergraduates assignments included a field-experience to help the students gain an awareness
of the needs of people in underrepresented groups. The students were given several options and
there ended up being 10 students for each semester (20 in all) who volunteered for the program.
The conductors of the study paired volunteers with and without disabilities to develop
and maintain the Trail of Peace at the World Peace Museum. The results showed an increase in
involvement that extended to the classroom, positive emotional responses and an increased sense
of purpose from the disabled volunteers. Field notes also showed a decrease in self-stimulatory
behavior such as arm flapping, body rocking and other stereotypical behavior in students with
autism. The Non-disabled volunteers showed a change in perspective regarding those with
special needs, having previously been afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and
underestimating the disabled students.
Although this study needs to be replicated and focuses more on the social aspect of the
benefits of altruism to special needs youth, it shows a marked difference in the lives of those
involved due to altruistic behavior. One of the students, who they called Trevor for the study,
was non-verbal prior to and at the start of the program. By the end of the first semester, Trevor,
was actively participating and quite verbal, including initiating social interactions with his
peers. The disabled students showed, excitement of a job well done, enjoyment, increased
involvement, and eagerness to participate. Volunteers with disabilities completed their tasks and
exhibited huge smiles, bright eyes, and erect posture, as well as comments such as "Donna did it!
Donna drilled!" and "Yeah, I did it! I did a good job, didn't I?," or reporting to a visiting local
news crew, "It's hard work and all, but I can handle it."
They were happier. They felt better. The bad part about this source is that it is a bit weak.
This is a new study that needs to be replicated and there needs to be different models of it. There
were variables that could (and probably did) skew the study, and it doesnt directly relate to the
link between altruism and happiness.
Kimberly D. Miller is cited as an author on multiple publications. She has won multiple
honors and awards for her work in the field of therapeutic recreation including the Arc of High
Point in 2005 and the Ethel Martus Lawther Alumni Award from UNCG in 2006. She has her
Masters Degree in parks and recreation management with a concentration in therapeutic
recreation. She is currently working as an assistant professor and research associate for the
University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Post, Stephen G. "Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It's Good to be Good." International
Journal of Behavioral Medicine 12.2 (2005): 66-77. ProQuest. Web. 28 June 2016.
This article by Stephen G Post sets out to examine various studies in an effort to prove the
authors hypothesis that, Its Good to be Good. He begins the article by discussing the benefits
of altruism to receivers. He discusses the limitations of altruism in improving the lives of others
(i.e. that it has various benefits as long as it is not overwhelming).
Post writes highly informative summaries of multiple studies conducted to show the
physical and mental health benefits of altruism. He references studies that have shown the
positive correlation between the health of senior citizens and altruism. Post specifically looks
into the effect of altruism on longevity. He also points out that based on recent research, helping
behavior can reduce depression in adolescents. He discusses possible causes for altruistic
behavior such as Group Selection theory. He points out a need for a study showing how altruistic
behavior effects helpers in real time. Post concludes the article by stating that a strong
correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are
emotionally kind and compassionate in their charitable helping activitiesas long as they are not
This is a highly informative article that provides an overwhelming amount of scientific
information that backs up my hypothesis. The author notes when the studies need to be
conducted again for accuracy, and points out the weak points in each that could be used to
dispute the findings. Despite this, he is still able to define the link between altruism and
happiness. I was a little disappointed he did not include more information on how altruism has
been shown to lessen depression in adolescents. He cites a book that apparently contains this
information, but I would want to read the book before making a claim that altruism can lessen
depression in adolescents. He does provide some background on the limitations of altruisms
effect on happiness. He talks about how it can cause a negative effect on those who take on more
than they can handle and how the benefits of altruism do not outweigh the consequences of
taking on too much.
This is an article written in a scholarly journal, by an author that has been quoted in more than
3000 national and international publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street
Journal. Stephen G Post is a bestselling author and has been the recipient of the Distinguished
Service Award from the national Alzheimers Association, the Pioneer Medal for Outstanding
Leadership in HealthCare from the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network of America and the Kama
Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada. He is a former professor in the
School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and a Senior Research Scholar at the
Becket Institute of St. Hughs College, Oxford University.
Post is currently working as a professor of Preventive Medicine and Bioethics at Stony
Brook University. He is a member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the New York
Academy of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Medicine, London and the director and founder
of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care at Stony Brook University. Post is
also the President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love.

Soosai-Nathan, Lawrence. "Altruism: A Pathway for Psychological Well-being." Indian

Journal of Positive Psychology 6.1 (2015): 90-2. ProQuest. Web. 17 June 2016.
This is a study posted in the Indian Journal of Positive Psychology that tested the benefits of
altruism on 432 participants. The participants were women from India (50%) and Italy (50%)
ranged in age from 30 to 60. They used T-tests and ANOVA procedures as controls for the study.
The study hypothesizes that higher levels of altruism can lead to higher levels of presence of
meaning and lower levels of search for meaning. The study finds that higher levels of altruism
were positively related to presence of meaning and did not negatively affect the search for
meaning. He explains how the search for meaning still being present in altruists is not opposed to
the presence of meaning. The article also cites Self Determination Theory (the meaning-making
process is vital to satisfaction in life) to explain why these results are positive.
The study makes an excellent case for altruism being a means to better psychological health.
The author makes an interesting point about how meaning in life does not only enhance wellbeing but also provide resources to deal with existential hardships like loss, sickness, failure, and
death. He goes on later to claim that because of its ability to enhance meaning in our lives,
altruism can enhance our psychological well-being and can become a pathway to selfactualization. This study goes a long way in proving my hypothesis that altruism can make you
happier. This articles shows how altruism enables people to be able to deal with crises better and
find their meaning in life, which has been linked to life satisfaction and happiness. The weak
point of this study is that the only women included were Italian and Indian. I think it would have
helped (especially for my purposes) to have women included from all over the world.
The study was cross- cultural, balanced for variables such as education and profession, and the
researchers completed all of the proper procedures and controls. The author has written about his
research into altruisms psychological benefits in multiple publications, wrote a book on
altruism, and was awarded Summa Cum Laude by the University of Milano, Italy after defending
his doctoral thesis statement before a panel at the university.
Swartzberg, John, M.D. "Be Well: The Benefits of Giving and Altruism."
@berkeleywellness. University of California Berkeley, November 28, 2013. Web. 30 June 2016.
In this article, the author discusses three examples of studies showing a positive
correlation between altruism and well-being. In the first, he discusses a 2010 analysis of 148
studies that link strong social ties to a 50% reduction in mortality rates. He believes that, One
likely explanation is that social connectedness buffers against stress. The next study he
references was published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2013. It looks at 846
people over the age of 65 who were interviewed about stressful events they had experienced in
the past year and about how much they engaged in altruism. After adjusting for data variables,
the study showed that these stressful experiences lead to increased mortality rates - with the
exception of those who engaged in altruistic behavior. He noted one of the researchers

statements that, Help given to others is a better predictor of health and well-being than are
indicators of social engagement or received social support, and, social connections may be
beneficial to the extent that they provide individuals with the opportunity to benefit others. He
concluded the article by citing a study of 3,500 caregivers (average age 63, mostly in the South)
that showed that they had a lower mortality rate than their non-caregiving counterparts.
This article, compared with the other sources Ive cited, initially seems weak. This is
most likely due to its lack of length. However, it does provide some valuable information on the
effects of altruism on the well-being of others. He doesnt go into too much detail regarding the
contents of the studies but does hyperlink to the studies. Overall, its a light read but an excellent
nugget of information.
Dr. Swartzberg is a specialist in infectious disease and Chair of the Editorial Board of He was the co-author of the Complete Home Wellness Handbook and a
professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an internist and past director
of the UC BerkeleyUCSF Joint Medical Program. Before joining the faculty of University of
California, Berkeley full time, Dr. Swartzberg spent 25 years in clinical practice.