What's Behind Impulse To Give Something Away To Help A Cause?

Published: Monday, July 10, 2017 - 2:39pm
Updated: Monday, July 10, 2017 - 2:47pm

As wildfires force evacuations and destroy homes around the state this summer, the donations start to pile up.

People give canned food and clothing for the fire crews, so much so that Pima County officials last week said stop. Safety rules prevent the clothing from being worn or the food from being eaten.

Instead, they said if you want to help, make a monetary donation to the local fire department.

Why do people do this? What is behind this impulse to give something, anything — even something useless — to help a cause?

There’s a lot behind that question, and to get some answers, I turned to a familiar voice on The Show: Dr. Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, and, of course, one of the hosts of Two Guys On Your Head, which you’ve heard here.

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