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By Gum, The Catholic Church Was Right All Along!

April 23, 2009

According to a new study in Psychological Science, humans engage in a process called “moral self-regulation.” Basically, we’re constantly calculating the trade-off between being able to see ourselves as good people and the cost of engaging in all that non-advantageous goodness.

You might expect that being prompted (primed) to think of yourself as a good person would make you more altruistic or moral — but, in fact, the exact opposite appears to be the case. Primed to think about what a good person you are, your most likely reaction is to think you’ve paid your morality dues and go on about your business.

from True/Slant

This is probably why Catholic confession is so effective; spilling the beans about my ‘impure thoughts’ as a child served as a subconscious reminder that I had to do more good works to make up for the bad things I had done.

But this finding has broader implications than my pre-pubescent guilt complex.  NGOs, take note of the following:

  1. Take pictures of people littering, not helping old ladies cross the street, or any other anti-social behaviors.
  2. Find addresses of these people, sending them mailers chastizing them for the enclosed picture.
  3. Solicit donations.
  4. Non-PROFIT!!!

It’s foolproof, and a lot less annoying than the Bono method.


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