Arrogant people less likely to help others

People who are arrogant may be less likely to give up their time to other individuals in need. This is the finding of new research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, which revealed humble adults are more prone to lend a helping hand.

Investigators from Baylor University said the results show humility is a positive quality that has many potential benefits.

Wade Rowatt, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences, noted: "While several factors influence whether people will volunteer to help a fellow human in need, it appears that humble people, on average, are more helpful than individuals who are egotistical."

The authors observed agreeableness is the only other trait that has an effect regarding personality variables on helping, but humility predicted far above this.

They added further studies need to look at whether humility can be cultivated or prove beneficial in other contexts.

Dr George Fieldman, Chartered Scientist, commented: "This study, revealing that humbleness predicts helping behaviours, is clearly of interest to both psychologists and society at large. 

"Appreciating one's own limits may enable people to empathise with the needs of others and so facilitate altruistic behaviours. This, in turn, may have other benefits as it may foster acts of reciprocal altruism - so benefiting the altruist and society by default.

"In another study, arrogance, or illusory superiority, was demonstrated in MBA students at Stanford University, 87 per cent of whom rated their academic performance as above their peer group median.

"We have all encountered people we view as arrogant, whether they have been our students, colleagues, clients, or bosses. Equally, I suspect, the vast majority of us would opt to associate with humble folk.

"Of course, here we mean humble in their attitudes, rather than in their abilities, as experience shows that the former is a poor guide to the latter."