Study: Watching People Do Good Makes You Want To Do Good

04/10/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's easy to feel all warm and and fuzzy when you watch an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show", but according to a study just published in Psychological Science, watching people pay it forward can have a real effect on you.

Tonic reports that volunteers in the study who watched an uplifting segment of the show were much more likely to agree to volunteer for another research study than those who watched an emotional neutral TV clip. But scientists wanted to make sure that the uplifting Oprah clips inspired do-good follow-through, instead of simply good intentions.

They gathered another group of study subjects and asked them to watch one of three different TV segments: a British comedy clip, the nature documentary, or the same elevating Oprah clip and then all the study subjects were asked by the research assistant to stay and fill out an additional -- and unexpected -- questionnaire. Researchers found that the Oprah viewers were TWICE as likely to help the research assistant and complete the questionnaire than either the nature or comedy watchers.

To read the full article, about the study, visit

You can also try the theory out yourself by watching a feel-good clip from the "The Oprah Winfrey Show":