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The Fix

Thought-provoking culture, creative ideas, insightful science and inspiring gifts


Seeing kindness on the small screen changes the way we act, says David Hamilton

Canvas tote bag, £15, thekindness

WATCHING TELEVISION PROGRAMMES that show acts of kindness tends to inspire young children to be kinder. A host of studies* were conducted in the 1970s but are almost forgotten now. In one, youngsters watched an episode of the TV show, Lassie, which featured Lassie’s owner, a young boy named Jef, dramatically rescuing Lassie’s puppies. Another group of children watched a neutral scene for comparison purposes.

Afterwards, the children played a game to win points and prizes. During the game, scientists played sounds of puppies barking in distress. Even though they would lose their points and prizes, the children who had watched Jef rescue Lassie’s puppies were much more likely to stop the game to help the puppies - showing how kindness helps to inspire others.

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