(CNN)Does money really buy happiness? It appears to, at least for a small group of German college students who participated in a study on the connection between happiness and altruism, the selfless concern for the well-being of others.
Could money buy happiness after all? A new study thinks so
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The study found the act of donating money to save a life produced happiness at first, but the effects didn't last. After a month, students who donated money were less happy than those who choose to keep the money for themselves.
"Prosocial behavior does not unequivocally increase happiness," the study authors wrote,"because prosocial spending naturally requires giving up something else, which may decrease happiness in its own right."
"Wow, definitely a surprising result and one that is inconsistent with previous research," said happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of "The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want," who was not involved in the study.
"I can't explain it," said Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. "It doesn't makes sense in light of everything we know about the benefits of helping others versus oneself."
The new study does fly in the face of past research on the effects of putting the well-being of others before our own without expecting anything in return.