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Humans are social beings that derive numerous benefits from interactions with other people, such as close relations and strangers. But how do people form early connections with others? In this study, we examine whether donating to charity together with another person fosters social bonds among unacquainted peers by facilitating shared positive emotions (positivity resonance). Unacquainted undergraduates (N=108; 54 dyads) were randomly assigned to either make a collaborative donation or investment decision together. Pairs were covertly videotaped, and videos were later coded for positivity resonance. Then participants privately rated how close they felt to their peer and decided whether to share their email to remain in touch. While dyads randomly assigned to make a collaborative donation decision did not report higher levels of closeness than dyads making investments, positivity resonance was associated with interpersonal closeness across conditions. Findings suggest that activities that foster positivity resonance may be important for forming meaningful social connections between strangers.
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