The Problem Isn’t Getting People to Help, It’s Getting People to Ask for the Help They Need


Ross Professor Wayne Baker once got stranded in Canada while sailing with his family. The response of complete strangers to drop everything and come to his rescue kicks off Baker’s recent TEDxUofM talk “The Paying It Forward Paradox.”

In the talk, which was given live on the TEDxUofM stage in April, Baker talks about the science behind generalized reciprocity, or the idea that people are motivated to help others, not because helping will impact their reputation in the eyes of others, but because of a feeling of gratitude.

Using this information, Baker and his wife invented an exercise known as the Reciprocity Ring, a structured and guided process of asking for and receiving help. In his TEDx talk, Baker, a core faculty member with the Center for Positive Organizations, takes viewers through the exercise and explains the science behind generalized reciprocity.

You can watch the full talk below:

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