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Important research study

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Carole:
Undervaluing the expression of gratitude

A important study relevant to this field has recently been published.

Two psychologists, Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley, working with several hundred participants, asked them to send an email letter to a person who had had a beneficial effect upon their life, to say what that effect had been and to express gratitude.  The researchers then asked the recipients of the letters to find out how they felt about receiving the letters.

A commentator from the British Psychological Society summarised the key findings as follows, ‘The senders of the letters consistently underestimated how positive the recipients felt about receiving the letters and how surprised they were by the content … Age and gender made no difference to the pattern of findings’. 

Kumar and Epley comment that such letter writing appears to benefit both the recipients of the letters and the writers.  They regret that embarrassment may lead people who experience gratitude but do not convey it to ‘refrain from a powerful act of civility which would benefit both parties’.



Kumar, A. and Epley, N. (2018) Undervaluing gratitude: expressers misunderstand the consequences of showing appreciation.  Psychological Science. June 27, 2918.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618772506 



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