Instrumentality boosts appreciation: Helpers are more appreciated while they are useful 2012 By Benjamin ConverseA. Fishbach Instrumentality boosts appreciation: Helpers are more appreciated while they are useful Instrumentality boosts appreciation: Helpers are more appreciated while they are useful by Benjamin Converse and A. Fishbach We propose that in social interactions, appreciation depends on the helper’s instrumentality: The more motivated one is to accomplish a goal and the more one perceives a potential helper as ableto facilitate that goal, the more appreciation one will feel for that helper. Three experimentssupport this instrumentality-boost hypothesis by showing that beneficiaries feel moreappreciation for their helpers while they are receiving help toward an ongoing task than after thattask has been completed or after the helper has been deemed no longer instrumental. This holdsfor the positive side of appreciation (gratitude) and the negative side (indebtedness), and across arange of relationships (complete strangers, new partners, and friends). This pattern ofappreciation is counterintuitive for helpers, resulting in a mismatch between the time courses ofexperienced and expected appreciation. Psychological Science Areas of focus Social Psychology Benjamin Converse Benjamin Converse is an associate professor of public policy and psychology at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on motivation, social judgment, problem solving and decision making. He teaches courses related to leadership and negotiations. Read full bio A. Fishbach Related Content Benjamin Converse People systematically overlook subtractive changes Research A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient. Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations Research To move from commitment to action, planners must think about the future and decide when to initiate. We demonstrate that planners prefer to initiate on upcoming days that immediately follow a temporal boundary. We instinctively add on new features and fixes. Why don’t we subtract instead? News Across a series of studies published this month in the journal Nature, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams, Benjamin Converse and co-authors demonstrated that people tend to overlook the option to subtract parts when asked to change or improve something. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, they explore why ‘less is more’ is a hard insight to act on. Why People Forget that Less is Often More News Why, when solving problems, do people prefer adding things to getting rid of them? In an article for The Economist, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams and Benjamin Converse explain their research on subtractive improvements.