Random acts of kindness are among the loveliest things in this world, and now a new study shows that helping strangers may relieve their pain more effectively than loved ones
can. The study, published in the journal Royal Society of London B: Biological
Sciences, had participants receive pain on the back of their hands. Those who were then treated by someone they didn’t know
rated their pain as less intense, compared to those who received help from
a person in their social group. Researchers say it may come down to the
element of surprise – participants were surprised
to receive assistance from a stranger. The fact they didn’t anticipate this positive outcome may have boosted the effectiveness of the treatment, as their brains acted to accommodate the unexpected turn of events.