A study at Northwestern University published in Psychological Science, research journal for the Association for Psychological Science (aps), "Sinning Saints and Saintly Sinners: The Paradox of Moral Self-Regulation" concluded that negative feelings about one's self are linked to why people give bigger donations.

Paul Slovic, PhD, president and founder of Decision Research, professor and author with his latest book, The Irrational Economist, studies "societal gambles" and according to PersonalMoneyStore.com, a consumer money advice site, Slovic "has identified four main reasons why people give to charity: namely, people give to get (self-interest), get indirectly (social status), feel good about themselves and rid themselves of guilt."

Slovic continues on a webinar with The Communications Network, to explain that this is the reason emotional images tied to a need create people to react and give because it triggers an individual personally. The response and desire to give big may come from a negative place - individuals in Northwestern University study who focused on negative facts about themselves gave up to five times more than the other participants - but can bring about positive change.

Philanthropic efforts have in the past years become increasingly publicized. The 14th Annual Slate 60 list was announced on February 5. The list created by Slate, a daily webzine owned by the Washington Post Company, tracks the 60 biggest American philanthropists and this year's greatest givers are Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, a hedge fund manager and his wife, by giving in excess of $700 million (€510 million) to various charities via their Druckenmiller Foundation.

The complete list from the 14th Annual Slate 60 of Greatest Givers: http://www.slate.com/id/2243495/

In-depth interview with Paul Slovic on The Communications Network in November 2009: http://comnetwork.org/userfiles/CommNet%20Paul%20Slovic%20Nov09/lib/playback.html

PDF of study, "Sinning Saints and Saintly Sinners: The Paradox of Moral Self-Regulation:" http://groups.psych.northwestern.edu/medin/documents/SachdevaSinningSaints.pdf