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News of selfless acts has positive effect: study
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CBC (Canada's public broadcasting station)

CBC (Canada's public broadcasting station), March 29, 2011
Posted: April 12th, 2011

Good news begets better people. That was the conclusion of new research released ... by the University of British Columbia, that found people with a strong sense of "moral identity" were inspired to do good when they read media stories about Good Samaritans' selfless acts. According to lead author Karl Aquino, who studies forgiveness and moral behaviour issues, four separate studies found a direct link between a person's exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world. He said media reports could potentially play a crucial role in the mobilization of history makers if less attention was paid to negative coverage. "The news media have a tendency to celebrate bad behaviour, from Charlie Sheen's recent exploits to articles that focus the spotlight on criminal and other aberrant behaviour." "These things have to be beyond just everyday goodness," Aquino said in an interview. "We're talking here about really exceptional acts of virtue. Acts that require enormous sacrifice, that put people at risk for the sake of others." Based on his research, Aquino also said the media could play a strategic role in helping the fundraising efforts for natural disasters like the recent earthquake in Japan. "Focusing on individual examples of extraordinary goodness within the crisis may be a more effective and subtle way to encourage people to donate than inundating them with stories and pictures of need and desperation," he said.

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