We are, at our core, social creatures and we spend considerable time and effort on building and maintaining our relationships with others. As young children, we’re taught that "sharing means caring" and, as we mature, we learn to take others’ point of view. If we make a decision that favors self-interest, we often feel guilt for prioritizing ourselves over others.
In prioritizing others, however, we sometimes forego the things that we know will make us happy. This raises an intriguing question: Is there any way to pursue self-interest without feeling bad about it? Can we have the proverbial cake and it eat it, too?
New research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that having our self-interest imposed upon us may help us to avoid feelings of guilt.
Psychological scientists Jonathan Berman and Deborah Small of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania speculated that removing individuals’ sense of agency would remove their feeling of responsibility for an outcome, leaving them free to enjoy self-interest without feeling selfish.
Photos courtesy of and copyright PhotoPin, http://photopin.com/