The hidden joy of giving — anonymous donations may be good for group stability

Why give to charity? Rarely a day goes by without fresh fundraising appeals flooding our inboxes, from co-workers running marathons dressed as cartoon characters to distant cousins climbing even more distant mountains. You might contribute for any number of reasons: familial duty, perhaps, or to boost your reputation as a generous person.

Evolutionary explanations of altruism suggest that generosity brings gains in social status or influence. If this were the case, when donating on the open plain of the internet, people would be expected to publicly contribute above the average. But Nichola Raihani of University College London found quite the opposite: the princely as well as the stingy were more likely to donate anonymously.
Continue reading