Humble people `more helpful`

Washington: Need a favour? Approach a humble person, for a study says that they are more likely to provide help than their arrogant counterparts.

Researchers at Baylor University in the US have carried out the study and found that humility is a positive quality with potential benefits, the `Journal Of Positive Psychology` reported online.

Lead author Wade Rowatt said: "The research indicates that humility is a positive quality with potential benefits.

"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 or conceited."

In their study, the researchers attempted to find out just what personality traits contributed to people being helpful.

To test the humility-helpfulness connection, the researchers recruited college students who listened to a recording about a fellow student who had injured a leg and could not attend class regularly.

Participants were then presented with an unexpected opportunity to help this person in need. They were asked how many hours over the following three weeks they could meet with the student to give help. Humble students offered more time.

Now, how did they evaluate humility? Since researchers knew that people can exaggerate their humility, they conducted separate researches that measured implicit and self-reported measures of humility.

The students were asked to "quick associate" traits that applied to them through such stimulus words as humble, modest, tolerant, down-to-earth, respectful and open-minded.

The bottom line was that humility was associated with the amount of helping time offered, even when the pressure to help was low, according to the researchers.

"The findings are surprising because in nearly 30 years of research on helping behaviour, very few studies have shown any effect of personality variables on helping," the US media quoted co-author Jordan LaBouff as saying.

He added: "The only other personality trait that has shown any effect is agreeableness, but we found that humility predicted helping over and above that."

However, the researchers said helpfulness is influenced by factors like time pressure, number of bystanders, momentary feelings of empathy or a person`s own distress.

Humility was also associated with such traits as modesty, tolerance, being down to earth, respectful and open-minded, according to the findings.