A team of researchers at Mizzou, including Paul Litton, the associate dean for faculty research and R. B. Price Professor of Law at Mizzou Law, have discovered that people tend to give more praise to someone for their good deeds as an adult after discovering that person has also had to overcome adversity or suffering earlier in life, such as abuse and neglect as a child. Litton collaborated with Philip Robbins, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy in the MU College of Arts and Science. They say these findings can help to narrow a knowledge gap found in both psychology and philosophy, two disciplines that study human behavior.
Their paper “Good deeds and hard knocks: The effect of past suffering on praise for moral behavior” was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. To read more about the study, visit: https://showme.missouri.edu/2021/past-suffering-can-affect-future-praise/